Can I Receive Alimony After My Divorce?

Posted on in Spousal Support

IL divorce lawyerWhether you can be awarded alimony in your Illinois divorce depends on the length of your marriage, the marital income, and other factors Illinois spousal maintenance law considers important. The judge will likely take your ability to earn a living into consideration as well. If you were married and a homemaker for a long time, you likely have a very strong case for needing alimony. It can be extremely difficult to re-enter the workforce after years of being a full-time parent or devoting yourself to running the household. Courts generally do not want to see anyone left in a position where they cannot afford to meet their basic needs after a divorce. If you believe that you will need alimony after your divorce, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can identify the best arguments in your favor. 

Length of Marriage Matters

People who were married for a very long time usually have the best chances of being awarded alimony. This is because courts know it can be very challenging for someone who has not worked in many years to suddenly start working again. Divorcing spouses in this position may receive temporary alimony for a set period of time so that they have support while getting an education or job training. 

Ability to Work is Important

In some cases, one spouse cannot work at all due to a disability or advanced age. In these cases, courts are more likely to award long-term alimony. If you are an older couple getting divorced, the court will not likely expect either spouse to go out and learn new job skills. Judges generally do not want to see people suddenly unable to meet their basic needs because they got divorced. In most cases, courts will try to make sure both spouses can largely maintain their standard of living. 


When to Contest a Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerMost divorces today are settled out of court. A majority of spouses are able to reach an agreement about each issue in their divorce by going to mediation or having their attorneys negotiate. When spouses can agree on each issue, they may file an uncontested divorce. Unfortunately, not every couple can resolve their divorce by agreement. In these cases, the spouses will need to go to court and argue their cases before a judge. The judge will then make a decision about each issue in the divorce, such as who should keep what marital property and what the parenting plan should look like. This is called a contested divorce, and it can be quite challenging. If you suspect that you will need to contest your divorce, it is important to be represented by an aggressive attorney

Reasons to Contest a Divorce in Illinois

There are a number of reasons that some spouses must contest their divorces. Common reasons spouses ultimately go to court to get divorced include: 

  •  Uncooperative spouse - Alternative dispute resolution does not work unless both parties are willing to participate and take it seriously. If your spouse refuses to engage in mediation or negotiation, fails to show up for mediation appointments, or simply refuses to make any compromises, you may need to go to court in order to finalize your divorce.
  • Complex assets - Spouses with substantial complex marital assets may struggle to find a fair way to divide what they own. A judge may need to step in and help divide complicated assets equitably. 
  • Abuse - If your spouse was abusive to you in any way, trying to go to mediation or negotiate with them may not be the right thing to do. Your attorney may suggest that you not attempt alternative dispute resolution and go directly to court. 
  • Hidden assets - If you believe that your spouse is concealing assets, it may take a court order to bring the full financial picture to life. 
  • Contention - In some cases, the spouses are in a high level of conflict. Spouses who despise each other may not be willing to agree to divorce terms that are fair to both parties. 

While contesting a divorce can be a challenge, the end result is often worth it. Courts strive to be as fair as possible to both parties. 


High Asset Divorce Tips

Posted on in High Asset Divorce

IL divorce lawyerHaving a high marital net worth can be wonderful. Spouses who have less financial stress often do better. However, it takes much more than good financial health to make a marriage work. People with high net worth can and do get divorced frequently. Having a large amount of valuable assets to divide is often a factor in complex divorce. The more assets you have, and the harder to divide those assets are, the more complicated your divorce is likely to be. Many couples who have managed their finances strategically have property like stock holdings, real estate investment properties, and retirement savings. Some even built up their net worth through a professional practice or a family business. If you and your spouse share complex or valuable assets, it is important to involve an attorney who is experienced with these legally challenging divorces. 

Helpful Tips for Divorce With Wealth

There are strategies spouses with high net worth can use to protect their joint wealth during the divorce, and some each individual can use to protect their own wealth. You may wish to consider: 

  • Uncontested divorce - High asset spouses should strongly consider using divorce mediation or attorney-facilitated negotiation instead of deciding to go to court right away. Using alternative divorce resolution can minimize the costs associated with a legal battle. 
  • Involving professionals - In addition to divorce lawyers, you may need forensic accountants, business valuators, appraisers, and other professionals who can help you ensure that your financial picture is clear. These professionals can also help you find all the documents and evidence you may need. 
  • Identify personal property - Some types of assets may belong to you and you alone, such as any inheritances or gifts you have received individually. 
  • Be creative - Creative solutions to complex problems can sometimes work. Spouses who are dividing complex assets sometimes find surprising compromises or ways of doing things that work for them. For example, some more amicable divorced couples find that they are quite able to continue collaborating on a profitable project. 
  • Be cautious about publicity - If there is a chance that your divorce could become a matter of public interest, it is important to approach the media in a very strategic and cautious way. You should consult your lawyer before appearing publicly. 

High asset divorce can become very complicated very easily. It is important to choose an attorney with experience handling these complex cases. 


IL divorce lawyerNot all prenuptial agreements are enforceable exactly as they are written. Some prenuptial agreements might not be enforceable at all. If you are getting divorced soon and you signed a premarital or postmarital agreement, you might be wondering how this contract will affect your divorce. While most agreements a couple chooses to include in their prenuptial contract will be enforced, there are some agreements that are not legal. If a certain term in your contract violates Illinois law or public policy, that term might be disregarded. In other cases, the entire enforcement is invalid because one party was coerced or forced into signing. If you have questions about whether your prenuptial agreement will be used in your divorce, it is important to consult an attorney before filing. 

Terms a Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Include 

Some terms in a prenuptial agreement cannot be enforced even if both spouses agree to them. These terms include: 

  • Child custody - Child custody decisions must be made based on what is best for the child, determined at the time of the divorce. Parents cannot agree to a custody arrangement before they begin the divorce process. 
  • Child support - Parents cannot agree to waive the support their child is entitled to. 
  • Unconscionable terms - A term is unconscionable if it is drastically unfair to one person, such as leaving one spouse with no way to support themself. 

Reasons a Prenuptial Agreement Might be Thrown Out

An entire prenuptial agreement could be thrown out and not used in the divorce in cases involving: 


How is Debt Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Marital Property

IL divorce lawyerA couple’s debt must be divided fairly during divorce, but fair does not mean 50/50 in all cases. Debt is a fact of life for a rather large portion of Americans. Few people can honestly say that they are entirely debt-free. Most people have a car payment, a student loan, a mortgage, or credit cards they have needed to make ends meet. When a marriage ends, the marital debt must be divided just like the marital assets. There is a lot that goes into determining which spouse is responsible for which debt. Even if a credit card or loan is only in one spouse’s name, it could be considered marital debt depending on the circumstances. As dividing debt in an Illinois divorce can be highly complicated, it is very important that you speak to a qualified Illinois divorce attorney. An attorney can help you understand how your debt may be divided based on your personal situation. 

What is Marital Debt?

Often, married couples will take on debt together to buy things that benefit them both. When this is the case, that debt is likely to be seen as marital debt, even if it is only officially in one spouse’s name. For example, if one spouse uses a credit card in their name only to pay bills during hard times, that debt is likely to belong to both spouses in some ways. 

How do Courts Divide Debt in DuPage County?

In many cases, spouses can decide how to divide their debt by agreement. Mediation can help spouses avoid a courtroom battle and work together to find a solution. If the court does need to step in and help divide debt, they will consider factors like whether one spouse is more responsible for the debt than the other. Additionally, if the debt is tied to an asset - like an auto loan tied to a car - the spouse who keeps the asset usually keeps the debt.


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