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dupage county divorce lawyerIf you are getting or have already gotten divorced in Illinois, chances are that you are receiving or paying spousal maintenance payments. Also known as alimony or spousal support, spousal maintenance is less common than it used to be but is still common enough that it is important to be aware of the laws that regulate this area of family law. One of the questions that spouses frequently have after divorce, whether they are making or receiving alimony, is whether certain actions or events could cause alimony to end. Like most legal issues, the answer in a specific case is, “It depends.” Read on to learn more. 

What Can End Alimony Payments? 

The most common reason that spousal maintenance payments terminate is that the court order requiring one spouse to make payments comes to an end. While the court order for spousal maintenance is renewable or fixed, it has a firm or potential end date. It is important to not stop making payments without a court’s explicit permission. 

The second most common reason for terminating spousal maintenance payments is that the receiving spouse gets married or begins living with a new partner in a conjugal relationship (living with a romantic partner, as opposed to living with a roommate or family member). The spouse getting married or cohabitating is responsible for informing the paying spouse about the change in arrangements and can face serious court penalties for failing to do so in a timely manner. 

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kane county divorce lawyerOn the whole, couples today are considering the potentially negative impacts of divorce more carefully than couples of the past, especially when there are children involved. This means fewer marriages end in divorce, and, when they do, couples are more conscious about the way they choose to separate. Many people are children of divorced parents themselves and have experienced the pain of high-conflict divorce first-hand. Others have simply read the research and know that divorce does not have to be a catastrophic experience when adults can work cooperatively together. Whatever the reasons may be for you, if you are considering collaborative divorce, the time to approach an attorney committed to helping you with the process is now. 

Do Not Wait Until You File for Divorce

Some couples figure they will wait to file for divorce and then hire attorneys to finish representing them throughout the process. However, this is usually not a good idea; the way you file for divorce has the potential to impact the rest of the divorce proceedings. For example, if you and your spouse have not already resolved issues like child support, asset division, and alimony, you will not be able to finalize your divorce and may need to litigate these issues on a temporary basis.

Hiring your collaborative divorce attorney before filing for divorce is the best time to start working on things - and the sooner, the better. Your attorney can help you manage your hopes and expectations during divorce, as well as brainstorm solutions to potentially difficult issues such as child custody. You can begin setting your own expectations and get a sense of the divorce process with your own attorney before you, your spouse, and your spouse’s attorney all begin meeting together. If you have a sense of what you want, and are willing to be flexible, you can generally move fairly quickly through the collaborative divorce process and file for an uncontested divorce. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerYou may have known that divorce would be inevitable for a long time, but now that you are finally here, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. While divorce is never easy, for people who are married to high-conflict spouses who seem to thrive on confrontation, anger, and blame, the divorce process can be an absolute nightmare. And while most divorces are moving away from litigation in favor of mediation or collaborative divorce, for high-conflict relationships, alternative dispute resolution methods may simply not be an option. 

If you are facing divorce with a high-conflict spouse, it is essential to retain an attorney with experience in high-conflict and complex divorces. The strategies that you will need for your case will likely look different than those used by other people you know who have gotten divorced. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself during a high-conflict divorce, and then schedule a consultation with a skilled Illinois high-conflict divorce attorney. 

Take Steps to Keep Yourself Safe

Physical and emotional abuse are not always part of a high-conflict relationship dynamic, but when they are, the victim of the abuse faces heightened risks when trying to end the relationship. Knowing this, you should take steps before announcing your intention to get a divorce by finding a safe place for you and your children to stay. If necessary, get an Order of Protection so your spouse is forbidden to contact or come near you and your kids. 

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kane county divorce lawyerGovernment policy is rarely straightforward, but changes in the law can make it even harder to analyze. Such is the case with Social Security benefits after divorce, the rules around which may change depending on when you were born. Fortunately, however, with the help of a knowledgeable Illinois divorce attorney, you can learn everything you need to know about your Social Security benefits after divorce and how you can negotiate a fair divorce settlement that minimizes the impact of divorce on your retirement plans. 

Do I Lose Social Security Benefits if I Get Divorced? 

Although privately owned property like pension accounts and 401(k)s are divisible as marital property in a divorce, government Social Security benefits are not. Even if your spouse depends on your benefits for their own, your benefit payments will not be affected. Rest easy knowing that this portion of your retirement plan is untouched by divorce. 

Can I Get Social Security Benefits Based on My Spouse’s Income? 

In certain circumstances, divorced spouses can get Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse’s earning history. However, there are slightly different rules you must follow depending on the year you were born. If you were born before 1954, you can file for benefits based on your spouse’s work record first and later draw on your own benefits if they eventually become greater. If you were born in or after 1954, however, you must apply for all available benefits, and whichever is higher (yours or your spouse’s) are the payments you will always receive. 

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kane county divorce lawyerDivorce is fraught with complex issues that must be addressed, and perhaps none more so than the issue of marital asset division. Once an Illinois couple’s relationship has irretrievably broken down, neither spouse rarely looks out for the other spouse’s well-being. Financial negotiations must be undertaken that are fundamentally zero-sum in nature; what one spouse gets in a divorce, the other spouse must necessarily lose. 

It is natural, therefore, for there to be an element of self-preservation in the asset division process. Spouses who are high-income earners are perhaps especially wary of being taken advantage of or losing hard-earned income. When it comes to commissions, bonuses, and other rewards for employee performance, individuals may be wondering whether they get to keep the fruits of their labor or if they must divide it with their spouse. 

Bonuses, Commissions, and Stock Options in Divorce

When it comes to determining whether performance-based compensation must be divided in a divorce, the answer, as with so many other grey areas of divorce, is “It depends.” Two things are primary determinants of whether performance-based pay is divided between spouses as marital income:

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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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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree