Woodridge Alimony Lawyer

Spousal Support Attorneys in DuPage County Can Help with Alimony Issues

Our Alimony Lawyers Know Financial Issues are of Great Importance in a Divorce

Financial disputes, especially those involving spousal support or maintenance, often lead to prolonged and contentious divorce proceedings. The issue is particularly vital, as divorcing spouses have to support two households on income that previously supported one. Alimony is not required, but may be appropriate under various circumstances, and spouses contemplating divorce need to determine whether it makes sense to pursue an alimony award and how it will affect their and their children’s financial future.

To complicate the situation, both federal laws regarding how spousal support is to be handled tax-wise and Illinois laws regarding spousal support keep changing. Since the laws and their changes can be confusing, stakes are high and affect your lifestyle and finances for years, and making mistakes can be costly, it makes sense for divorcing spouses to seek guidance from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney.

The seasoned and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., have extensive experience representing spouses in determining spousal support. Our attorneys are thorough and hard-hitting in protecting our clients’ financial interests, but still attempt to preserve relationships for divorcing couples co-parenting children. Whether you are seeking or opposing alimony in your divorce, we will work diligently to get the best outcome possible. For a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County spousal support lawyer, call our offices today.

Free Consult — Call 630-305-0222

Spousal Support Attorneys Explain Alimony’s Purpose

Spousal support, also called alimony or spousal maintenance, is not awarded as a reward or punishment.

Alimony is based on need and is gender neutral, so both women and men may be eligible to receive it. It is desirable for both spouses to continue living at a standard that is similar to what they enjoyed while they were married. However, many spouses are not able to do so, often because they stayed home or worked part-time to take care of family, or they took lesser jobs to help their spouse’s career advancement.

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to help the lower-earning spouse to manage financially and live in similar circumstances as when married. However, in general, the supported spouse is expected to eventually become self-supporting and no longer need maintenance.

Alimony Lawyers in Woodridge Deal with Your Questions and Concerns

Going through a divorce is an upsetting and life-changing experience, so it’s natural for divorcing spouses to have questions and concerns. The following are answers to questions our alimony lawyers are often asked:

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated?

In the past, there were no clear guidelines that dictated the calculation of spousal support, and judges had discretion in determining amounts and duration. This changed on July 1, 2015, and then again with the new revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Act”) which took effect on January 1, 2019. Under the revised law, there are four primary types of alimony that may be available in a divorce:

1. Temporary Alimony
Temporary alimony (also called “temporary maintenance”) is financial support awarded to one spouse during the time the divorce is pending. It ends once the divorce becomes final. The purpose is to cover the recipient’s living expenses during the divorce process, usually when the spouses have decided to live separately during this time. If you should be entitled to temporary alimony, our attorneys will request it in your initial divorce filing, although it is possible to submit a request later in the divorce proceedings if necessary.

2. Fixed-Term Alimony
Fixed-term alimony is alimony awarded for a set period of time, usually to allow the recipient to become financially self-supporting. Fixed-term alimony will most-often be appropriate in situations where:

  • The spouse seeking alimony gave up a career to assume childrearing or homemaking responsibilities during the marriage;
  • The spouse seeking alimony gave up educational or training opportunities during the marriage in reliance on the other spouse’s income; and/or
  • The spouse seeking alimony has limited earning capacity and must pursue education or training in order to maintain their accustomed standard of living once alimony payments end.

3. Reviewable Alimony
Reviewable alimony is not awarded for a specific duration. Instead, payments are periodically reviewed by the court review, and their renewal is generally contingent upon the recipient’s making good-faith efforts to become self-supporting. Reviewable alimony may be appropriate in circumstances where:

  • the recipient does not have a clear path toward becoming self-supporting, or
  • childrearing responsibilities interfere with the recipient’s ability to pursue education or training without interruption.

4. Permanent Alimony (Indefinite Alimony)
Permanent or indefinite alimony is financial support that is awarded for the remainder of the recipient’s lifetime. It is available only in divorces involving marriages that were 20 years in duration or longer. In this situation, the court, at its discretion, orders either permanent maintenance or maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage. However, there are still circumstances under which permanent alimony may be terminated.

  • Who is Entitled to Apply for Alimony?
    Either party may petition or move for alimony under the Act in Illinois, and both men and women may receive it.
  • What Qualifies You for Alimony in Illinois?
    There are certain factors that will be considered when determining whether alimony is granted. These include:

    • Each spouse’s income and property, with consideration to the division of marital assets, and each spouse’s financial need
    • The current and future earning potential of both spouses
    • Negative impacts on the earning potential of the spouse seeking maintenance due to marriage or childcare arrangements
    • Potential impairment to the earning potential of the spouse paying maintenance
    • The length of time needed for the spouse receiving maintenance to seek education or job training to improve their earning potential
    • The standard of living established during the marriage
    • How long the marriage lasted
    • Other factors related to ability to work, such as a spouse’s age or physical health
    • Other sources of public or private income
    • Tax obligations that may be created by the division of marital property
    • Contributions one party may have made to the education or earning potential of the other partner
    • Any prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements
    • Factors deemed by the court to be “just and equitable.”
  • How Much Alimony Can I Get?
    Illinois state statutes clearly outline how to calculate alimony through an equation based on each party’s net income and the length of the marriage. Divorcing parties also have the option to choose their own alimony payments outside of the courtroom. The court still must approve the arrangement, but it generally goes through if both spouses agree.

    In determining amount of alimony, Illinois courts (and divorcing spouses negotiating the terms of their divorce out of court) must examine factors including the spouses’ individual and combined net annual income, child support payment obligations, and alimony payment obligations from prior marriages (if any).

    The formula for maintenance for divorces after 2019 is as follows: (33% of the payor’s net income) – (25% of the recipient’s net income) = the yearly maintenance paid. This amount is divided into 12 monthly payments.

    The amount awarded cannot cause the receiving spouse to earn more than 40% of the couple’s combined net income. However, if the amount of maintenance is more than 40% of the couple’s combined gross income, the judge will again determine maintenance.

  • How Long does Spousal Support Last in Illinois?
    The length of time maintenance continues is determined by a formula as follows:

    • For marriages of less than 5 years, maintenance will be paid for 20% of the number of years the marriage lasted. The percentage increases accordingly:
    • 5 years: 24%
    • 6 years: 28%
    • 7 years: 32%
    • 8 years: 36%
    • 9 years: 40%
    • 10 years: 44%
    • 11 years: 48%
    • 12 years: 52%
    • 13 years: 56%
    • 14 years: 60%
    • 15 years: 64%
    • 16 years: 68%
    • 17 years: 72%
    • 18 years: 76%
    • 19 years: 80%
    • 20 or more years: Courts can choose to order permanent spousal maintenance or maintenance for a length equal to the length of the marriage.

Tax Changes Affecting Spousal Support

One of the provisions of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removes the 75-year-old tax deduction for people making alimony payments. The new rules do not affect people who divorced or signed a separation agreement before 2019, but if a couple’s circumstances change, the alimony situation can be readdressed and the new laws may come into play.

In divorces settled prior to Jan. 1, 2019, the payors were able to deduct payments from their taxable income and recipients were required to report the support as income. For divorces settled on or after Jan. 1, 2019, payors can no longer deduct the payments on their income tax returns. Also, payments are no longer to be considered income for tax purposes. The spouse receiving the alimony receives it tax-free, the same as money paid for child support. This means the new law benefits people receiving spousal support in most cases.

If you are a payor and withdraw money from your IRA to make alimony payments, you may have a tax advantage. This is because the IRS doesn’t tax such funds upon withdrawal, according to the new tax code.

However, the law restricts how people receiving alimony can save for retirement, since you cannot invest alimony payments into an IRA. As a result, people who rely entirely on alimony payments for income might have challenges saving for retirement.

Contact Our Alimony Lawyers in Woodridge Today

Divorce and support negotiations are traumatic enough under the best of circumstances, and changes in the law can make your situation even more stressful. The compassionate and experienced Illinois divorce attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the pressures of divorce and recognize the concerns you have for your future and that of your children. We know the laws, the tax codes, the courts and the system and can guide you through the process. We represent and advise clients in all types of divorce matters and have a long history of success.

If you have questions about spousal support or any other family-law issue, we offer a free initial consultation to examine your individual situation and help come up with solutions that are best for you and your family.

Don’t delay — call or contact us online today to set up your free consultation.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]

Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

3321 Hobson Road, Suite B
Woodridge, IL 60517
Phone: 630-305-0222

Contact Us