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How To Avoid Paying Alimony In Illinois

Keep Tabs On Your Exs Relationship Status

Divorce Part 4: Asking for Spousal Support or Alimony

Several states terminate alimony payments as soon as the recipient starts living with a new partner. This condition might even be present in your divorce decree, so make sure to through the alimony payment section with your attorney and be clear about any such clauses.

Of course, a new marriage will put an instant end to alimony payments, so it is a smart idea to be aware of your exs relationship life. You could keep tabs on them through mutual friends or via your ex-spouses social media.

Can I Modify Spousal Support

Illinois maintenance awards can always be reviewed and possibly modified unless the parties have a written agreement making it clear that it was their intent that the award not be reviewable. Courts won’t modify spousal support unless there’s been a significant change in the circumstances of the parties, though.

The judge in the matter has the discretion to decide whether a maintenance award should be modified or terminated. The judge must look at the same factors examined to make the original award of maintenance, as well as:

  • any change in employment of the parties and whether the change was made in good faith
  • the efforts of the party receiving maintenance to become self-supporting
  • any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of either party
  • the tax consequences of the payments on the parties
  • the duration of the previously payments relative to the length of the marriage
  • the increase or decrease in each party’s income since the prior maintenance order
  • the property acquired and currently owned by each party, and
  • any other factor the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.

To request a modification of your maintenance award, you will need to file a motion to modify maintenance in the court that issued the order.

Strategy : Have A Judge Evaluate Your Spouses Fitness To Work

After a divorce, a spouse may prefer to remain as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, even though this causes financial hardship or is not 100% necessary. If your spouse is educated and has the skills to obtain a job that pays well, you can ask a judge to perform a vocational evaluation. It is an objective assessment that provides you with insight into what your spouse can potentially earn by taking a job in their area of knowledge and skills.

Even if a job is not available at the time you go to court, alimony may still be ordered on a temporary basis. This is still preferable to payments that are issued on a long-term basis or indefinitely.

Bear in mind your spouse may just need some space while they work to get on their feet and establish their own household, find a job that pays well, and learn how to live on their own again. Short-term alimony payments will help them along and get them in the right direction faster, especially if they took time off to care for children or help you advance your own career.

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Is Alimony Mandatory In Illinois

Like most states, Illinois generally requires a monthly payment of alimony. Typically, the court will issue an income withholding order to the paying spouses employer.

What is the alimony law in Illinois?

The basic formula for alimony in Illinois is fairly simple: = the yearly maintenance paid. One condition to this is that the amount awarded cannot cause the receiving spouse to earn more than 40% of the couples combined net income.

Temporary Alimony In Illinois

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Financial assistance given to one partner while the separation of the couple is underway is known as temporary alimony . Temporary alimony is typically granted in situations when the couple has made the decision to live apart and is meant to fund the participants living costs during the separation. Even though it is possible to submit an application later on during the divorce settlement if needed, a partner who needs temporary alimony would also most likely just include an appropriate request in his or her first divorce filing. Once the divorce is finalized, a temporary alimony award expires.

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Terminate The Marriage As Soon As Possible

One of the factors that determine the alimony amount is the length of your marriage. Generally, the longer the marriage, the higher the alimony payments. So, if you know that your marriage has hit a dead-end, do not pointlessly prolong it. The quicker your marriage ends, the less you will have pay by way of alimony.

How Can I Get A Wage Garnishment For Child Support

Child support and maintenance that the debtor receives are usually not garnishable either. To get a wage garnishment, you need to file a Citation to Discover Assets to Debtors Employer first. Use the collect a judgment from debtors employer program to make the forms you need.

What can employer hold out for for wage garnishment?

The most the employer can hold out for you is 15% of the debtors gross income before taxes or deductions. However, the withholding cant leave the debtor with less than 45 times the state minimum wage as weekly take-home pay.

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Do The New Formulas Apply To Every Case Where Maintenance May Be Ordered

No, the new formulas do not apply to all maintenance cases. An Illinois divorce judge can use the formula if the combined gross income of the husband and the wife is less than $250,000 and there is no multiple family situation. Notably, the new Illinois maintenance law does not contain a definition of multiple family situation. Presumably, it refers to situations where a spouse has a support obligation in one or more prior case. For example, your case is a second marriage, and your spouse is paying child support or maintenance to the first family. See my Article: How New Case Law Develops in Illinois.

Where Can You Find The Right Lawyer

How Do I Stop My Wages From Being Garnished?

It is essential to have the assistance of an Illinois family lawyer for any divorce or alimony issues, questions, or concerns you may have. Your lawyer can advise you regarding Illinois law on alimony. Your attorney can assist you with your alimony petition and help you present the best evidence in court for why you need alimony payments.

If you are the spouse who will be required to make alimony payments, your attorney can help you oppose those payments, if necessary. Having an attorney assisting you is the best chance at getting a fair divorce and alimony order.

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How Are Spousal Support Payments Calculated

Even while a judge has the choice to make whether or not to grant spousal support, if they do, they will typically utilize an Illinois law-provided formula to calculate how much should be paid. According to this method, support will be paid annually after subtracting 25 percent of the participants net annual income from 33-13 percent of the payors net yearly income. The recipients net yearly income cannot exceed 40% of the spouses total net annual income when added to the spousal assistance they receive.

It can be useful to think about some scenarios to get a better understanding of how spousal maintenance payments are calculated. In a hypothetical scenario, one spouse might make $180,000 a year while the other makes $30,000. 25 percent of $30,000 equals $7,500, and 33 1/3% of $180,000 is $60,000. $52,500 is the result of deducting $7,500 from $60,000 in total. The higher-earning partner would give the other spouse $4,375 each month because spousal support is often given on a monthly basis.

Its crucial to remember that the rules for determining spousal maintenance are only applicable in situations where the total gross annual income of the spouses is less than $500,000. When determining the proper amount of support for couples who make more money than this, the judge will take into account all relevant considerations as well as the specifics of the couples individual situation.

How Is Alimony Calculated In Illinois

Ideally, the alimony arrangement is hammered out by the two parties during negotiation. If the couple canât come to an agreement on maintenance payments, then the judge will make the final decision. If a prenuptial agreement exists, the court will follow its edict.

The court takes many factors into account when determining maintenance payments. Beyond looking at the numbers of years married and comparing the income of each spouse, the court reviews the following:

  • The needs and lifestyle of both spouses leading up to the divorce
  • The current and future earning potential of both spouses
  • Whether one spouse put their career on hold at the expense of running the household
  • Any potential for future impairment of either spouse to earn an income
  • Age, job skills, employability, and physical health of both spouses
  • Tax consequences related to the divorce
  • Amount of time one spouse may need to secure job training to become employable and
  • Any other factor the court finds just and relevant to determining maintenance.

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Overview Of Alimony In Illinois

In Illinois, there are several types of alimony, which may take the form of a lump-sum payment, a transfer of property, or periodic payments. Periodic alimony, by which the supporting spouse makes payments on a schedule to the supported spouse, is the most common type of spousal support.

The court usually sets periodic alimony for a specific duration of time, or until some event occursalthough in rare cases and long-term marriages, the court will award permanent alimony.

When deciding whether to award a spouse alimony, Illinois courts will consider the following factors:

  • each spouse’s income, property, and earning ability
  • each spouse’s financial needs
  • the length of the marriage
  • the couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • each spouse’s age and health
  • whether either spouse delayed education, training, or employment due to the marriage
  • the time needed for either spouse to get education or training to be employable, and
  • the tax consequences of alimony payments to either spouse. .)

The court usually sets periodic alimony for a specific duration of time, or until some event occursalthough in rare cases and long-term marriages, the court will award permanent alimony.

Longer Marriage Often Means Higher Alimony Payments

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The longer you remain married, the longer the alimony term will likely be. The court considers the marriage length when determining the term. For example, if youve been married for seven years, the state might recommend alimony for forty percent of that term. Lengthy marriages can also require lifetime alimony payments.

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Types Of Spousal Maintenance In Illinois

If both spouses are self-supporting, the court may deny the support request, even if there is a large discrepancy in income. The courts goal in awarding support is for each spouse to maintain the standard of living after the divorce.

Illinois courts can deal with any significant difference in earnings by distributing more of the marital property to the lower-earning spouse.

Illinois law permits a spouse to request Temporary Support while a divorce case is pending. The goal of temporary maintenance is to aid the supported spouse in maintaining their financial status quo during the divorce process.

Fixed-Term support is usually awarded to allow the other spouse to become self-supporting, such as completing education or job training. Fixed-term support is awarded for a set duration. The court expects the party receiving maintenance to make good faith efforts to become employed and self-supporting.

Reviewable Support is subject to periodic court review with the recipient showing their efforts to become self-supporting.

Permanent Support is sometimes ordered in situations when spouses are unable to support themselves due to illness, age, or other factors and is typically reserved for long-term marriages. The marriage must have lasted at least 20 years to be eligible for permanent maintenance.

Factors That Determine Spousal Support Amounts

The basic formula for alimony in Illinois is straightforward.

= the yearly maintenance paid.

One condition is that the support obligation amount awarded cannot cause the receiving spouse to earn more than 40% of the couples combined net income.

Its essential to note that spousal maintenance is not awarded in all divorces. Courts consider several factors to determine if it should be awarded. Those factors include:

  • Each spouses income and property, with consideration of the division of marital assets
  • Each spouses financial need
  • The present and future earning potential of both spouses
  • Any negative impacts on the earning potential of the spouse seeking maintenance due to marriage or childcare arrangements
  • Any 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 potentially related to employability, such as a spouses age or physical health
  • Any other sources of public or private income
  • Tax obligations created by the division of marital property
  • Contributions one party may have made during domestic duties or to the education or earning potential of the other partner
  • Any prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements
  • Factors deemed by the court to be just and equitable

Also Check: Who Pays Alimony In Divorce

Proving Your Spouses Infidelity

Most states do not consider unfaithful partners eligible to receive spousal support payments.

However, do remember that your word that your partner betrayed you is not going to be anywhere near enough to tip the scales in your favor. If you are alleging infidelity, you will have to endure the burden of proof that is, you will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your partner was a cheater, rather than them having to prove their innocence.

Before you file a suit against your partner, you need to compile as much incriminating evidence as possible. This could include videos and pictures that back your statement, or witnesses willing to testify in your favor.

Of course, the final say would reside with the judge, who will determine whether your evidence was sufficient to render your spouse unfaithful, and if or how it will affect the alimony terms.

How Do You Qualify For Alimony In Illinois

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Alimony, which is also referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support in Illinois, consists of payments which are paid in regular, cyclical installments from one ex-spouse to another ex-spouse. Alimony payments are usually associated with a divorce or legal separation.

Pursuant to Illinois alimony laws, as part of a divorce case, a judge may determine that one ex-spouse should pay the other monthly support payments. These payments are intended to cover the individuals basic necessities including food, clothing, and shelter.

Alimony payments are made separately from payments an individual may be required to make for child support as required due to circumstances related to child custody. Alimony payments may help the receiving party become financially stable following the divorce or legal separation.

This is common in cases where one spouse was depending on the other spouse to be able to pay their living expenses. In the State of Illinois, in order to be eligible for alimony, the spouses must have been legally married.

Either a husband or a wife may qualify for alimony. If a spouse involved in a divorce in Illinois cannot support themselves or maintain a reasonable standard of living by themselves during or after the divorce may petition the court to receive alimony.

The court has discretion regarding whether or not to award permanent support, or fixed support, which expires after a certain amount of time has passed.

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How Is Spousal Support Determined In Illinois

The first step in determining spousal support or spousal maintenance is to determine if the divorce case qualifies. In Illinois, the divorce court considers many factors when determining if a case is a spousal support or maintenance case, including the length of the partys marriage, the income history of both parties, the future prospective income potential of both parties, their health, their need, their education level, their age, and more.

Once the case is deemed a maintenance case, there are two different components that factor into the calculation or formula for spousal support. The first factor is the length of the maintenance award, and the second being the calculation of the actual dollar amount of the award. The length of the marriage is determined from the date of the marriage through the date the divorce is filed . And the longer you are married, the longer the maintenance duration will be, with increases in duration as the marriage goes on for longer. The dollar amount is mostly formulary, with limited exception for judicial discretion in higher-income divorce cases. Generally speaking, if a receiving spouse is employed, it can reduce the amount of maintenance that a spouse would have to pay to them as a portion of their income is used as a deduction in the formula.

Best Tips To Avoiding Alimony

There are a number of ways that an individual can avoid having to pay alimony, either by pre-planning, doing so during the divorce, or even after the divorce. Here are some of those tactics

  • Prenuptial Agreement: This is something that couples do before they are married to help eliminate the possibility of alimony payments if they divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement between the couple outlining what will take place as far as the division of property is concerned should they divorce. Individuals will usually seek a prenuptial agreement when one spouse makes or has significantly more money than the other as a means to protect their assets during divorce. Other reasons for having a prenuptial agreement entered is to avoid having to pay alimony to the other spouse.
  • Proof of Infidelity: Depending on which state you reside in, infidelity may be a reason for the denial of alimony. In these states, if infidelity on the behalf of one of the partners is proven, it can help to take alimony for that spouse off the table. Keep in mind, however, you will need to prove the infidelity happened to the courts satisfaction through different types of evidence. Proving infidelity is no easy task, as you will need actual proof, such as multiple witnesses, photographs, video, or other incriminating evidence.

Also Check: How To File Taxes During Divorce

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