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Kane County family law attorneyDivorce is a difficult decision to make. Sometimes, a couple may hesitate on pulling the proverbial trigger even though they are well aware that their marriage is in trouble. If you are in this situation, a legal separation may be an idea, as you receive many of the benefits of divorce without giving up all of the benefits of being married just yet. Be advised, however, that most people “separate” colloquially, meaning that they take no steps to protect their assets like bank accounts or titles to vehicles. Legal separation, by comparison, has specific procedures that must be followed.

Changes to the Law

Before changes were enacted in 2016, legal separation was used by many couples who did not have sufficient grounds to divorce, or by couples whose religion either prohibited or frowned upon divorce. With the abolition of fault grounds, fewer people use the procedure because obtaining a divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences is much easier than it was in the past. However, it is still the choice for many who simply cannot make the decision to divorce for whatever reason.

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Kane County family law attorneyIn many cases, receiving court-ordered child support is the difference between being able to pay the bills and being in financial trouble. Sometimes, however, child support simply does not get paid. Whether the failure to pay is the result of malicious reasons or because unexpected expenses occurred for the supporting parent, you may have to go to court to obtain what you are owed.

Most Common Methods

The most common way that noncompliant parents are made to pay their support obligations is to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU), via automatic income withholding (AIW), under the federal Family Support Act. Illinois has adopted a version of this law that is functionally identical to the federal statute, though other states have made modifications. Income withholding applies to divorce decrees that have both child support and spousal support or that only discuss child support. In other words, you cannot request income withholding through the SDU, if your former spouse is behind on maintenance payments only, at least not in Illinois. AIW generally takes effect automatically unless the parties specifically agree to another form of recourse in the event that back child support has accumulated.

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Kane County family law attorneySometimes, life happens. A new job, new relationship or death in the family may necessitate a move, but to relocate a family is almost never easy. This is true because Illinois law does set some restrictions on relocating children, especially during or after divorce. Very often, one parent’s interest in seeking new opportunities must be balanced with the other parent’s right to parenting time and their children’s interests in staying where they are comfortable.

Recent Changes to Relocation Laws

Before 2016, Illinois law held that a parent could uproot their children for any destination within the state, but if he or she chose to leave the state even by a very small distance, permission of either the other parent or a family court was required. With the revamping of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a new approach was adopted.

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Kane County family law attorneysIn most divorce cases, there are a variety of different considerations that must be addressed, including the division of marital property, maintenance concerns, and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Fortunately, many divorcing spouses are able to remain civil and diligently negotiate a reasonable agreement that resolves all of their outstanding issues. While such cooperation is not always possible, spouses who can work together toward reaching a settlement often realize significant savings in terms of time and money throughout the process.

During the course of negotiations or informal conversations, you and your spouse may agree to certain terms. No matter what is said or agreed to orally, it is important that you record all of your agreements in writing so that there is no confusion or uncertainty down the road.

Most Oral Agreements Are Unenforceable

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Kane County family law attorneyIf you have been ordered to pay alimony—legally known as maintenance in Illinois—your payments are meant to ease the financial effects of the divorce on your ex-spouse. A court may also order maintenance to allow a financially disadvantaged spouse to maintain a standard of living reasonably similar to that which you both enjoyed during your marriage—especially if yours has not markedly changed. In the years that follow your divorce, however, your spouse may find a new romantic partner and begin a relationship. Depending on the nature of that relationship, your obligation for spousal support payments may be affected.

Duration of Support Orders

Most orders for spousal maintenance are set for a predetermined number of months or years. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides a formula for calculating the length of the order as a function of the length of the marriage to be used in most situations. Longer marriages result in relatively longer orders for maintenance, and some cases may result in permanent orders. While Illinois law does use the word “permanent,” it is not an ironclad guarantee that payments must continue until one spouse dies. There are certain occurrences that could permit you to stop making maintenance payments in spite of a permanent order.

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1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100
Wheaton, IL 60189
630-549-0960
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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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