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What You Should Know About Alimony in DuPage County, IL

Young Couple Came To The Lawyer for Divorce Appointment. Alimony in Des Plaines

The amount and duration of alimony in DuPage County depends on factors such as marriage length, the standard of living during the marriage, and each party’s financial resources, health, and disabilities. Courts in DuPage County, IL, consider many other variables too, including the ages of the spouses, how long one spouse might need to obtain education or training, and existing agreements such as prenuptial contracts.

Young Couple Came To The Lawyer for Divorce Appointment. Alimony in Des Plaines

Do you have concerns about paying or receiving alimony? Spousal support can be complicated, so get in touch with Erlich Law Office at (630) 538-5331 to find out more.

Types of Alimony in DuPage County

Illinois has about 1.3 divorces per 1,000 people. Alimony is not an issue in every divorce, especially those involving short-term marriages. A spouse must ask for alimony to recover it, as alimony is not automatically given.

The state does have guidelines for alimony based on marriage length, but the courts have leeway to make adjustments as they see fit. In any case, there are four major types of alimony.

Temporary Alimony

This is alimony in Des Plaines that one spouse pays to the other while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. Temporary spousal support stops when the divorce is finalized. If you want temporary alimony, including your request in the initial divorce paperwork is best. You can submit requests later, though.

Temporary alimony usually occurs when the spouses are already living apart from each other. The goal is to cover the living expenses of the spouse in need.

Fixed-Term Alimony

This type of alimony occurs for a specific duration, so one spouse can become self-sustaining. It is a common type of spousal support for those who require training or education to maintain their standard of living, who gave up career opportunities for child-rearing or domestic responsibilities, or who gave up opportunities for work or education with the other spouse’s income to fall back on.

Reviewable Alimony

Reviewable alimony occurs for largely the same reasons as fixed-term alimony. However, as the name implies, the court reviews it periodically instead of setting a fixed term upfront.

This could be the case if a spouse is the children’s primary caregiver and these responsibilities conflict with or take precedence over efforts to become self-supporting. The spouse could continue receiving alimony as long he or she can show good-faith efforts toward becoming self-sustaining.

Permanent Alimony

Under Illinois divorce law, this kind of alimony is for marriages lasting 20 years or more. It could last for the rest of the recipient’s life or until a circumstance, such as the recipient’s remarriage, occurs. It is also called indefinite alimony.

What Factors Are Considered in Determining Alimony Payments?

Marriage length is a major factor with alimony. Others include the spouses’ current financial circumstances and their future prospects. Your spousal support attorney can discuss the circumstances of your case with you.

The general formula for the amount of alimony is 33% of the payer’s net income minus 25% of the recipient’s net income. This could be the amount of alimony per year. One condition or exception is that the recipient cannot earn more than 40% of the parties’ income combined. Another formula, explained below, applies to the length of alimony.

Marriage Lengths and Alimony in Cook County and DuPage County

Shorter marriages typically mean alimony lasts for a shorter time and is of a lesser amount. For instance, if a marriage lasted less than five years, alimony awards may last for 20% of that time. In other words, a marriage lasting three years might result in alimony for about seven months.

You add 4% for each year of marriage. If a marriage lasted eight years, alimony guidelines call for payments to last for 36% of that period.

For marriages of 12 years, alimony lasts for 52% of the duration. It is at 80% for marriages lasting 19 years. For marriages of 20 years or more, alimony of 20 years or permanent spousal maintenance may occur.

Can You Make Modifications to Alimony Agreements?

It is possible to modify alimony agreements, whether you are the payer or recipient. Of course, some cases are more straightforward than others.

For example, situations involving remarriage or cohabitation can be clear-cut. To make a modification, you or your lawyer file a petition with the court that issued your divorce decree. Other than remarriage, common situations that warrant modifications include:

  • Health issues: One of the spouses may have a major health decline that affects the ability to work and earn income.
  • Employment changes: Retirement, job loss, and other employment changes may affect a person’s need for alimony or ability to pay it.
  • Major changes in income: Income changes can make a big difference in several ways. To name one example, if the recipient starts earning a significantly higher income, or gets a large inheritance, he or she may no longer need alimony.
  • Hidden income or assets: If the higher-earning spouse hid assets during divorce proceedings, then alimony may need to be modified to be equitable.

Changes in the cost of living can also warrant modifications to alimony in DuPage County, as can unexpected expenses related to natural disasters, the children’s educational expenses, major home repairs, or major medical emergencies.

Courts must approve changes for them to be legally binding. Your lawyer can help determine the validity of your proposed grounds for terminating or modifying Illinois spousal support.

Is Alimony Taxable in DuPage County?

Tax laws change often, so it is best to consult with tax professionals. That said, federal tax laws generally indicate that for divorces finalized after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony is not deductible for the payer. It is also not taxable income for the recipient. Nuances and exceptions such as lump-sum alimony settlements may still apply and have tax treatment.

What Disqualifies You From Alimony?

A few things can disqualify a spouse from alimony. One is concealed assets. Hidden assets in a divorce may disqualify a person from alimony if it means the spouse hiding assets has no financial need for alimony. Courts also do not view such behavior positively and may impose various penalties.

Adultery or infidelity usually does not disqualify a person from alimony, since Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. However, each situation is unique.

A prenuptial agreement may disqualify you from alimony. For instance, it might address alimony and limit or waive the spouse’s right to seek it. That said, some clauses may be unfair or go against public policy and be unenforceable. If you signed an agreement under duress or coercion, or the other party did not fully disclose assets, you might have a case for the court to invalidate a prenuptial agreement or change its terms.

If you have no need for financial support, you may not qualify for alimony. For instance, if you can maintain on your own the same general standard of living you enjoyed during the marriage, you might not be able to get spousal support.

Remarriage also usually disqualifies you from alimony. The presumption is that the new spouse provides financial support.

Alimony modifications or disqualification could occur in situations involving cohabitation, a higher income, a marked improvement in financial circumstances, or the ending of a specific duration of alimony. If the court ordered alimony for 10 years, then it typically stops once 10 years are reached. Extenuating circumstances may warrant an extension, though.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

Alimony may last just a few months or the rest of a lifetime. Lengths are situation-specific, and Illinois has guidelines that judges have the flexibility to customize if needed.

What Should You Ask a Divorce Lawyer About Alimony in DuPage County?

When you meet with prospective lawyers, it is good to have a list of questions ready about the issues in your case. Common matters include asset division, child custody, and, of course, alimony. Alimony questions to ask a divorce lawyer include:

  • What experience do you have with alimony cases?
  • How much experience do you have negotiating alimony settlements and going to trial?
  • How much alimony do you think I will get and for how long? Or, how much alimony do you think I will have to pay and for how long?
  • Will the child support I get affect the amount of alimony for which I might qualify?

It helps to have as much financial documentation as possible before meeting with a lawyer. For example, income estimates are good, but even better is having pay stubs, investment statements, business profit and loss records, and so on.

Need insight into your spousal support concerns? Erlich Law Office can help with alimony and other issues related to your divorce. Contact us today.

Uncontested divorce lawyer Denise Erlich is passionate about helping divorcing couples in the greater Chicagoland area transition to their new life as seamlessly as possible. Ms. Erlich patiently guides her clients through every step of the divorce process and provides clients with candid advice about their case and legal options, so they can make informed decisions about their future.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
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