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IL custody lawyerIf you are considering divorce in DuPage County and you have minor children from your marriage, you will need to learn more about child custody laws in Illinois. For most members of the Muslim community in DuPage County, the months before and during your divorce will be the first time that you learn about child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities. To help prepare you for your child custody case, our DuPage County child custody attorneys have a list of important child custody facts that you will likely want to consider as you move forward with your divorce.

1. Illinois Law Now Discusses Child Custody in Terms of “Parental Responsibilities”

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), you will no longer find any reference to child custody awards, or to physical custody and legal custody. Instead, Illinois law now discusses child custody in terms of “parental responsibilities.” Rather than awarding child custody in sole or joint terms to parents, courts now allocate parental responsibilities, with flexibility for different types of family situations.

2. Parental Responsibilities Include Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Parental responsibilities now include significant decision-making responsibilities (similar to legal custody) and parenting time (similar to physical custody and visitation). Parents can share these responsibilities in a variety of ways based on what is in the best interests of the child.

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IL divorce feeWhen most people think about seeking attorney’s fees in a court case, they are often thinking about civil cases in which they are suing another party for damages. However, attorney’s fees also may be available in DuPage County divorce cases. To be clear, attorney’s fees are not awarded in a divorce case because one of the parties “wins” the case, but rather based on one party’s ability to pay and the other party’s inability to pay. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the issue of attorney’s fees in divorces, and we want to provide you with more information about this topic.

In the meantime, if you need assistance with your divorce, one of the dedicated DuPage County divorce attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can speak with you today. We regularly provide counsel to members of the DuPage County Muslim community and can discuss your options for moving forward with your divorce.

Interim Attorney’s Fees in a DuPage County Divorce

When one party is seeking interim attorney’s fees in a divorce case in Illinois, that party must file a petition for interim attorney’s fees and costs. In order to be eligible to receive interim attorney’s fees—which means attorney’s fees while the divorce is ongoing—the party seeking the fees must be able to show that relevant factors exist for awarding attorney’s fees. The IMDMA says that the court shall consider all relevant factors. It cites the following, among others:

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IL divorce lawyerMany spouses who make the decision to get divorced have minor children from the marriage. When there are minor children from the marriage, parental responsibilities will need to be allocated. There are essentially two different ways of allocating parental responsibilities under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA): either through a parenting plan developed by the parents or through the court’s allocation judgment. In both scenarios, the wishes of the child, or the child’s preference, can be taken into account but typically will not be the sole deciding factor in how parental responsibilities are allocated. Keep in mind that parental responsibilities include both significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. We will say more about how a child’s preference can come into play for both types of parental responsibilities.

Allocating Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities and Considering the Child’s Preference

Under the IMDMA, significant decision-making responsibilities are one of two forms of parental responsibilities, previously known in Illinois as child custody. Significant decision-making responsibilities are most similar to what we previously knew as legal custody or the parent’s responsibility for making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing. Generally speaking, significant decision-making responsibilities typically include decisions about the child’s education (including where the child goes to school and who tutors the child), health care issues (including the types of medical, dental, and psychological treatments a child receives, as well as the providers the child sees), and religion (including what the child’s religious upbringing is and where the child receives religious training, education, and community).

Does the child get to have a say in how significant decision-making responsibilities are allocated? The answer to that question depends upon the specific facts of the case, but the IMDMA does allow the child’s wishes to be one consideration. Under the IMDMA, significant decision-making responsibilities are allocated according to what is in the best interests of the child. Whether the parents allocate these responsibilities in a parenting plan or the court does so in an allocation judgment, the “child’s best interests” must be what governs the allocation. In considering the child’s best interests, the IMDMA says that “all relevant factors” should be considered, including:

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IL custody lawyerWhen a married couple is considering divorce and has minor children from the marriage, deciding how the parents will share significant decision-making responsibilities for the child can be extremely complicated and contentious. As many parents in DuPage County likely know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) no longer uses the term “child custody” or “visitation,” but instead uses the term “parental responsibilities,” which includes both important decision-making responsibilities for the child in addition to parenting time.

When parents can agree to terms, they can develop a parenting plan to allocate parental responsibilities. When parents cannot agree, the court issues an allocation judgment that details how parents will share parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interests of the child. The child’s religious upbringing is one of the major issues involved in significant decision-making responsibilities. We want to say more about how the allocation of parental responsibilities involves a child’s religious upbringing, and to encourage you to get in touch with an Oakbrook Terrace family law attorney if you have additional questions.

How Does Illinois Law Define a Child’s Religious Upbringing?

Under the IMDMA, “religious upbringing” is defined as the choice of religion or participation in religious customs or practices, among others.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are considering divorce in DuPage County, it is important to understand how property division works under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), and to understand how property can become commingled. When property is commingled, it can be difficult to classify, and the court ultimately may need to classify it as marital property that is divisible even if it has some traces of separate or non-marital property. We will say more about property division in order to explain the complications of commingled property. If you have questions, a DuPage County divorce attorney can assist you.

Classifying Marital and Non-Marital (or Separate) Property

The first step in dividing marital property in a DuPage County divorce is for the court to classify all property as marital or nonmarital (or separate) property. Generally speaking, all property acquired prior to the date of the marriage will be classified as separate property and will not be subject to division, while most property acquired after the date of marriage will be classified as marital property and will be subject to division. However, there are some exceptions to the classification of marital property. For example, even though the following types of property may have been acquired after the date of marriage, the court likely will classify these types of property as separate property and will not divide them:

  • Inheritances to only one of the spouses
  • Gifts made to only one of the spouses
  • Property acquired through the use of separate property
  • Property specifically designated as separate property in a premarital agreement

Property Division in Illinois and the Theory of Equitable Distribution

When two married people in Illinois get divorced, the court will divide all marital property according to a theory of equitable distribution. This might include, for example:

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IL family lawyerNo parent in DuPage County wants to face a situation in which they cannot afford to make their regular child support payments. However, there are numerous situations that can arise to make it difficult or even impossible for a parent to contribute his or her portion of the child support obligation. For example, if a parent gets hurt and cannot work, that parent may be hospitalized for a month or longer, preventing that parent from earning money and contributing to the support of the child. Or, a parent might lose his or her job. If you lose your job, can you have your child support obligation modified?

In short, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows parents to modify child support in some circumstances, but it is important to understand how child support can be modified and what limitations might exist. If you need to modify child support, you should reach out to a DuPage County child support attorney as soon as you can.

Are You Eligible to Modify Child Support?

In order to modify child support, in most circumstances, one of the following must be true:

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IL family lawyerIf you are considering divorce or currently are in the process of getting divorced and have minor children from your marriage, we know that you probably have many questions about child custody in DuPage County. If you have spoken with a family law attorney, or if you have a family member or friend who recently got divorced, you likely know that Illinois does not use the term “child custody” any longer. Courts do not award legal custody or physical custody when parents get divorced, and accordingly Illinois law no longer use the term “visitation.” Instead, you may know that courts in the state now use terms that include “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” to refer to who makes legal decisions about the child’s upbringing and the amount of time that a parent physically spends with the child.

Yet these new terms can get confusing. We often work with clients who want to know: what is the difference between parental responsibilities and parenting time? In short, parenting time is part of the overarching “parental responsibilities,” but we will explain more about how each of these terms is defined and used under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). If you need help with your case, a DuPage County child custody lawyer can speak with you today.

Defining Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time Under the IMDMA

The term “parental responsibilities” is the overarching language that is now used in Illinois instead of “child custody.” The statute defines parental responsibilities as parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities. As you can see, the term parental responsibilities is the more general, overarching term under which specific parental responsibilities are housed. Parenting time is defined as one form of parental responsibility, while significant decision-making responsibilities is the other form of parental responsibility. In effect, the term “parenting time” replaces the terms “physical custody” and “visitation,” while the term “significant decision-making responsibilities” replaces the term “legal custody.”

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IL alimony lawyerWhat happens when a parent in Illinois wants to relocate with his or her child after a divorce? After you go through a divorce and begin sharing parental responsibilities with your former spouse, it is important to remember that unexpected events may arise that necessitate a modification to your parenting plan or your allocation judgment. One of the reasons that you may seek to modify your parenting plan or allocation judgment is that you want to relocate with your child.

How difficult is relocation, and what do you need to know about how it is handled under Illinois law?

Defining Relocation Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act

How far away do you want to move with your child? Whether you have a majority of parenting time or share parenting time nearly equally with the other parent, do you even need to make any changes to your current parenting plan if you are moving to another house or apartment? The answers to these questions depend upon whether your planned move would actually be defined under the IMDMA as “relocation.”

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IL divorce lawyerAnyone who is going through a divorce in DuPage County likely has questions and concerns about the financial aspects of divorce. More specifically, you may be wondering: will I need to pay spousal maintenance, or will I be eligible to receive spousal maintenance? In the event spousal maintenance is awarded, most couples in DuPage County will have spousal maintenance calculated accorded to guidelines based on income. While courts can deviate from these guidelines in some circumstances, the guidelines are a good bet for calculating a likely spousal maintenance award.

Determining Whether a Spousal Maintenance Award Is Appropriate

Before you begin calculating a likely spousal maintenance award, it is important to understand that everyone is not simply entitled to spousal maintenance. Under Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), before the court ever gets to the point of calculating a spousal maintenance award, it first needs to make a finding as to whether a maintenance award is appropriate. To do so, it considers a wide variety of factors listed in the statute. Examples of some of those factors include but are not limited to:

  • Each of the parties’ incomes;
  • Needs of each of the parties;
  • Present and future earning capacity of each of the parties;
  • Impairment of either of the parties’ present and future earning capacity due to devoting time to domestic duties during the marriage;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Duration of the marriage; and
  • Age and health of each of the parties.

Once the court determines that one of the spouses should receive a maintenance award, then its calculation of the amount of the award largely depends upon the couples’ combined income.

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IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce is difficult under any circumstances, but the prospect of property division can be particularly complex when there is a business that is either partially or entirely marital property. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), marital property includes both assets and debts from the marriage, and it is distributed to the spouses according to the theory of equitable distribution. Classifying property can be one of the more complicated aspects of property distribution, but valuation can also be extremely complex. If you own a business with your spouse, or if your spouse alone owns a business or is in business with other people, it is likely that at least part of the business will be classified as marital property.

When a business is classified as marital property, it must be valued. While valuation should be straightforward, different people can have different ideas about the value of a business. The experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce attorneys at our firm regularly assist members of the Muslim community with complex asset division issues, including business valuation. We can assist you with your case, and in the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about business valuation during divorce.

Determining Whether the Business Is Marital Property

The first step in business valuation during divorce actually does not have anything to do with assigning a value to the business. Instead, the court will need to determine what portion, if any, of the business should be classified as marital property and thus will be divisible during the divorce. Generally speaking, any business assets or liabilities acquired during the marriage are likely to be marital property unless there is a premarital agreement that says otherwise.

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IL divorce lawyerWhether you are in the early stages of considering divorce or already have filed, it may be time to consider working with a forensic accountant who can assist with asset division. Financial issues often are among the most contentious ones in any DuPage County divorce case, and financial matters can be especially complicated and controversial in high net worth divorces where there are complex assets that will need to be identified, classified, and potentially distributed between the spouses. In some of the most difficult cases, one of the spouses is the primary breadwinner and goes to great lengths to hide marital assets in order to prevent them from being divided in the divorce.

No matter what your financial situation, a forensic accountant may be able to work with your DuPage County divorce lawyer to help with your case.

What Does a Forensic Accountant Do?

If you have never worked with a forensic accountant before and do not usually handle complex financial matters, thinking about hiring a forensic accountant can feel puzzling. You might be asking yourself: what does a forensic accountant do, and do I really need to hire one? According to a publication from the American Bar Association (ABA), more people should work with forensic accountants in their divorces given the benefits.

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IL divorce lawyerYou might have heard that approximately 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end up in divorce, but that the statistic has declined in recent years. Or you may have heard that millennials are getting married at much lower rates than people in older generations. Everyone seems to know something about divorce, to have some idea about supposed statistics surrounding divorce, or to be able to identify interesting facts about the divorce process. But what do you really know about divorce? We have collated information from a wide variety of sources to bring you some surprising statistics about divorce.

Divorce Rates in the U.S.

What are the facts when it comes to divorce rates in the U.S.? The following represent some statistics that you may find surprising:

  • Approximately 42 percent to 45 percent of marriages now end in divorce;
  • Fewer millennials are getting divorced, but at the same time fewer millennials are getting married;
  • Around 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce, and nearly three-fourths of all third marriages end in divorce;
  • More than one-fifth, or 20 percent, of the U.S. population has been divorced at least once, and about 10 percent of the population is currently divorced;
  • The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is about eight years;
  • The rate of “gray divorce,” or divorce among older adults, has doubled since the year 1990;
  • Currently, about 25 percent of divorces involve couples over the age of 50; and
  • On average, about 2,400 divorces occur each day.

Predicting Divorce and Divorce Risk Factors

  • Some studies say divorce is “contagious,” meaning that people are more likely to file for divorce if a family member or close friend files for divorce;
  • Higher education (having at least a bachelor’s degree from a college or university) reduces your risk of getting divorced by about 13 percent;
  • Spending more money on your wedding may increase the likelihood of your filing for divorce;
  • People with higher incomes are less likely to get divorced; and
  • People with more friends and more people in their social networks are less likely to seek a divorce.

Facts Concerning Divorce and Children

  • Short-term effects of divorce on children typically dissipate;
  • Keeping contact with children, even if it is through social media or electronic communication, has a significant impact on the parent-child relationship;
  • Telling children about divorce plans as quickly and truthfully as possible helps kids with divorce in the long run; and
  • Nearly 20 percent of kids currently live in a family with a single parent, a remarried parent, and/or step-siblings.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney in DuPage County

Do you need assistance with your divorce, or do you have questions about the divorce process more generally? An experienced and compassionate Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer can answer your questions today. Our firm is committed to assisting members of the DuPage County Muslim community with a wide variety of family law matters. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office today for more information. We can also be reached by phone at 630-909-9114.

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IL divorce lawyerFamily law issues in the U.S. can be especially complicated for Muslims, whether they were born and raised in the U.S. or are recent immigrants. For instance, many Muslims in DuPage County have ties to non-Western cultures and traditions that often are seen as being in conflict with Western values that often are seen as more prevalent in the U.S. Yet more American Muslims are filing for divorce than ever before.

To be sure, it is important to recognize that many American Muslims are filing for divorce at higher rates. These divorces highlight a growing number of Muslims in the United States deciding to end their marriages for various reasons.

Rates of Divorce Among American Muslims

Currently, the overall divorce rate in the U.S. is right around 45 percent. The divorce rate in the country has declined since the 1970s and 1980s, but it still remains relatively high. In Canada, the divorce rate is at about 37 percent—less than the overall rate in the U.S., but still comparatively high. How does the Muslim divorce rate in the U.S. and Canada compare? In short, there is not a lot of research that has been conducted on this topic, and as such, there is very little data. Back in 1990, one study suggested that the divorce rate among Muslims in North America was just over 30 percent, which was less than the average divorce rates in the U.S. and Canada but significantly higher than divorce rates among Muslim communities in other parts of the world.

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Posted on in Illinois Family Law

IL divorce lawyerMaking the decision to get divorced is never easy no matter what the circumstances might be. Depending upon the specific facts of your case, the divorce process can take months before property division occurs and the court can issue an allocation judgment concerning parental responsibilities. If you are thinking about filing for divorce, you may be asking yourself: should I file for divorce first? Keep in mind that, regardless of whether you are the one who files the petition for divorce, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) will govern the process for your divorce.

While the outcome may be similar whether you are the petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) or the respondent (the spouse being served divorce papers after the other spouse files first) in an Illinois divorce, there may be some advantages to being the petitioner. In other words, the spouse who files for divorce first may see some benefits over the spouse who is ultimately served with divorce papers.

How Being the Petitioner in a Divorce Case Can Give You the Benefit of Planning Ahead

Being the petitioner in a divorce, or the spouse who files for divorce first may have some financial benefits. For example, that spouse often can spend more time seeking out the best divorce attorney for his or her case and may have the luxury of interviewing multiple lawyers before making a decision about who to hire. As such, the spouse who files for divorce first often can work with the best divorce lawyer for his or her case from the beginning stages of the divorce.

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IL divorce lawyerMany DuPage County residents realize that their marriages are not working out and that it may be time to separate from a spouse. For most people, this results in a decision to file for divorce. Yet we also speak with many people who want to know what the difference is between divorce and annulment, and whether they may be eligible for an annulment instead of a divorce. To be sure, there is a common misconception that annulment can be an alternative to divorce and that it can be quicker and easier.

It is important to understand that annulment and divorce simply are not interchangeable. In the most basic terms, a divorce is the only way to dissolve a legal marriage, while an annulment is how two parties would officially dissolve a marriage that was never legal in the first place. We will say more about how these distinctions work.

Annulment: When a Marriage Is Invalid

Annulment is a process that is only possible when a marriage is invalid. While the law in Illinois concerning annulment falls under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), it cannot be used when a couple is legally married.

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IL business lawyerThe start of the New Year is an important time to revisit the financial and legal documents governing your business. Depending upon the type of business you currently own and the structure of your company, reviewing your business documents and updating them could involve many different tasks. At the start of 2018, you should have reviewed your partnership agreement and the partnership audit rules that took effect on January 1, 2018, as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Whether or not you reviewed your business documents at this same time last year, it is important to work with an experienced DuPage business law attorney to review your company’s agreements, financial materials, and legal considerations for 2019.

Reviewing and Amending a Partnership Agreement

If your business is a partnership, the New Year is a good time to review your partnership agreement and to amend it if necessary. If all partners agree to amend the partnership agreement, then an amendment is possible at any time under the Uniform Partnership Act (805 ILCS 206/) in Illinois.

There are numerous reasons that a business might need to amend its partnership agreement. For example, maybe you added a new partner or are planning to add a new partner in 2019. Or, if a partner left the business or is planning to leave, you will also need to amend the partnership agreement.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you have made the decision to file for divorce — or you have at least made the decision to speak with an attorney about the possibility of filing for divorce—the next steps can feel daunting. For most residents of DuPage County, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer. Once you have scheduled an initial consultation, you will likely be wondering what you need to bring with you when you meet with a divorce attorney for the first time. While preparing for a divorce consultation can feel intimidating, you should keep in mind that this consultation is for you so that you can get a sense of the attorney’s role in the process, whether you want to work with this particular divorce lawyer, and what major issues you are likely to face in your divorce.

The family law advocates at Farooqi & Husain Law Office have years of experience assisting members of the Muslim community in DuPage County with divorce. Recognizing the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) will govern your divorce proceedings, the following is a checklist to consider when preparing for your divorce consultation.

1. Financial Documents

The first and most important category of items to bring to any divorce consultation concerns your finances (and financial documents from the marriage). The divorce lawyer will want to have a sense of the complexity of dividing marital property, whether you will want to seek spousal maintenance (or should expect to pay spousal maintenance), and how the court is likely to handle child support if there are still minor children from your marriage or if you have children in college.

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IL estate planning lawyerAs we approach the New Year, all families in DuPage County should recognize that it is the perfect time to consider estate planning issues or to review your estate planning documents. You may have developed your estate planning documents earlier this year, or you may have drafted estate planning materials years ago without considering updating those materials until now. Since you last considered estate planning more generally or created documents, laws have changed and your own personal circumstances may have changed.

We want to discuss some important estate planning issues that you should consider revisiting for 2019. No matter what changes you need to make, an Oakbrook Terrace estate planning lawyer can assist you.

New Tax Law Implications for Estate Planning

The first major change to the law that could have implications for your estate planning strategy is the new tax law that took effect in 2018. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) raised the federal estate tax exemption. Between 2017 and 2018, the estate and gift tax exemption went up to $5.6 million per person from $5.49 million. As such, starting in 2018, a person can leave up to $5.6 million to family members without it being subject to a federal estate tax. Married couples who jointly leave an inheritance to their heirs can double the amount, meaning that up to $11.2 million can be exempt from federal estate tax. The federal tax exemption does not result in a change to the Illinois exemption, which is $4 million for an individual.

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IL divorce lawyer Many families in DuPage County may realize that, once the holidays come to an end, more friends and neighbors are filing for divorce. Indeed, divorce is so prevalent after the holiday season in the U.S. that many commentators have begun to refer to the Monday after the holiday season ends as “Divorce Day,” or the Monday after Christmas break when the flood of divorce emails clogs attorney inboxes. To be sure, divorce filings at the start of the New Year jump by nearly one-third. And this is not only the case in the U.S. Divorce lawyers in the U.K. also see a spike in divorce filings at the start of January.

What is leading so many people to divorce after the holidays? In short, divorce may have notable seasonal peaks, and there are a couple of different reasons for these spikes in divorce filings. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington noted these salient rises in divorce filings at two times of the year and discussed the reasoning behind these trends.

General Seasonal Trends of Divorce

Divorce filings do tend to spike just after the holiday season comes to an end, but to better understand the reason for this, it is important first to consider the reason for seasonal divorce trends more generally. According to the researchers at the University of Washington, rates of divorce filings tend to rise at two different times of the year: just after the holiday season ends and just after summer vacation (typically for kids on an academic schedule) comes to an end.

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IL family lawyerAs you may know, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—better known as Trump tax reform—will change the way in which spousal maintenance affects taxes. In short, after the new year, the spouse making alimony payments will have to pay more money in taxes, while the spouse receiving alimony payments will have to pay less in taxes. However, a new Illinois law considers these federal tax law changes and makes it so that the spouse making payments is not as adversely affected as she or he otherwise might have been. We will say more about how spousal maintenance is taxed, and then we will talk about the calculations for spousal maintenance after 2019 when both laws (federal and state) will take effect.

How Spousal Maintenance and Taxation Currently Works

Currently, under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/504), here is how taxation works when it comes to spousal maintenance: the spouse who makes alimony payments (the payor) can deduct the spousal maintenance payments from his or her income prior to paying taxes, while the spouse who receives alimony payments (the payee) must pay taxes on the spousal maintenance payments in the same way that the spouse would pay taxes on other types of “income.”

However, under the TCJA, the new federal tax law, any divorce that is finalized on or after January 1, 2019 will see a major change when it comes to taxing spousal maintenance. For these divorces, the payor spouse will be required to pay taxes on spousal maintenance payments while the payee spouse no longer will have to pay taxes on spousal maintenance payments received. What is the effect of this? In brief, the payor spouse ends up paying more in the long run, while the payee spouse retains more money and pays less in taxes in the long run. Since the payor spouse earns more money than the payee spouse, the payor spouse’s income typically is taxed at a higher rate. As such, taxing the spousal maintenance payments on the payor’s end in most cases will mean that the taxes are higher and the federal government receives more from that payment in taxes.

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