When you are going through a divorce, there are a number of important considerations to be made. You, your spouse, or both will probably have to find a new place to live. If you are a parent, you will need to develop a parental plan and a strategy for allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time. Of course, simply adjusting to life without your spouse can be a challenge all its own. However, some of the sensitive concerns in divorce revolve around finances and assets: how will the marital estate be divided and are you entitled to receive spousal maintenance payments?
According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, decisions regarding property and support in a divorce must be made on a case-by-case basis. If you and your spouse cannot reach a negotiated agreement, the court will identify and allocate your marital assets between you and determine if spousal maintenance is needed. In doing so, the court must take into account a number of factors regarding each. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The income, resources, and earning capacity of each spouse;
- Each spouse’s role in marriage, how it contributed to the marital estate, and the impact on either spouse’s earning potential;
- Length of the marriage and the lifestyle established;
- How the allocated property or maintenance will affect tax liabilities;
- Arrangements made for the couple’s children; and
- The existence of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement between the parties.
Each Can Affect the Other
The law also provides that a presiding court must consider the overall financial circumstances of both the marriage and the pending divorce. The division of property process and the determination of spousal maintenance are not completely independent from one another. In deciding how to divide marital property when spousal support has been requested, the court is statutorily required to take into account whether assets will be allocated to you “in lieu of or in addition to maintenance.”
In effect, the law permits the court to increase or decrease the portion of the marital estate you are to receive based on the answer to that question. This means the court could potentially simplify future interactions between you by giving you more of the marital property right away, but not requiring your spouse to make maintenance payments. Conversely, you could be awarded significantly less property in the divorce, but maintenance could be ordered to assist you in meeting your needs over time.
Simplifying a Complex Process
As you approach the possibility of divorce, it important to avoid becoming overwhelmed, and our experienced Kane County family law attorneys can help. We invite you to meet with a member of our team to discuss your case and get the information you need to make informed decisions from the very beginning. Contact Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., at 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation today.