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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 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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Posted on in Spousal Support

IL family lawyerGetting divorced can take a significant financial toll on any couple or family, especially when just one of the spouses was the primary earner. Whether one spouse stayed at home during the marriage to raise children or simply had a lower earning job, divorce can be extremely difficult when parties begin living on only one income. Alimony, which is known as spousal maintenance under Illinois law, is a term to describe a maintenance payment from one spouse to the other in order to account for substantial differences in income levels as a result of the divorce. Spousal maintenance is not awarded in all divorces, but it is awarded in many of them.

Factors for Awarding Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

In order for one spouse to receive alimony or spousal maintenance from the other spouse, the spouse seeking the maintenance must request it. The first step the court takes when it receives a request for spousal maintenance is to determine whether it is appropriate. In other words, should the spouse who wants maintenance receive it?

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you get divorced in DuPage County and have an uncontested divorce—or believe you will have an uncontested divorce - then you may have heard about a marital settlement agreement. What is a marital settlement agreement, and why do you need to have one? In short, marital settlement agreements are used when spouses are getting divorced but agree to the terms of the divorce. The marital settlement agreement can clarify how assets, payments, and other financial matters are divided. We will provide you with some additional information about the marital settlement agreement, and then we will give you some examples of what it can contain.

What Is Included in the Marital Settlement Agreement?

Typically, when a couple enters into an uncontested divorce—this means that the couple agrees to all terms of the divorce and the court does not need to make any decisions about financial matters, for instance—then that couple will also enter into a marital settlement agreement.

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhen you are filing for divorce in Oakbrook Terrace, it can be frustrating to think about property division and to have concerns about your spouse receiving a majority of the assets or money in a divorce. Many husbands want to know more specifically if their wives will be able to get all of their money in a divorce. In almost all divorce situations in Illinois, property is divided in a way that is fair to both parties. Keep in mind that “fair” does not mean “equal.” As such, one of the parties might end up getting more of the marital assets than the other based on factors in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

We will explain more about how money and other assets in the divorce are divided, and how a wife could seek additional money from the marriage by asking for spousal maintenance.

Concept of Marital Property and Equitable Distribution

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Illinois divorce lawyerIf you are currently paying alimony in Oakbrook Terrace  (or “spousal maintenance,” as it is known under Illinois law), or if you are planning to file for divorce in 2018, it is important to think carefully about how the new tax plan could affect alimony payments. In short, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will change the way your spousal maintenance payments — whether you pay them or receive them — affect your total taxable income and thus the amount of tax you pay. To be sure, Trump’s tax bill will make 2018 an interesting year for those looking to divorce. What does this mean for Illinois residents, and is there anything you need to do before the tax plan takes effect?

Alimony, Tax Deductions, and Taxable Income

The new tax bill comes with big tax cuts for certain individuals and entities. In order to raise revenue that will be lost through the tax cuts, the Republicans who drafted the bill turned to alimony as a possible source of revenue. Under the new bill, spousal support paid by one spouse to the other will not be tax deductible, and the recipient spouse no longer has to pay taxes on it. How is this different from the current system?

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spousal support changes, Islamic divorce lawyer ChicagoStarting January 1, 2015, Illinois made significant changes to its laws regarding spousal maintenance. The formula for determining maintenance underwent significant alteration. This revives an ongoing debate among Muslim scholars and attorneys, however: a non-religious court may order spousal support, but it is generally considered to be haram amongst Islamic faithful. Divorce laws in the United States take precedence over religious laws, but within Islamic law itself, there is a growing trend to argue in favor of maintenance, under the Islamic principle of mut‘at-al-ṭalāq. It is possible for some to reconcile the two bodies of law.

Traditional Rationale

Generally, under traditional Islamic law, post-divorce maintenance was held to be haram because it was seen as an "additional" benefit to the wife. She was said to have “exhausted her share” during the marriage by being fed, clothed and sheltered by her husband. Support was permissible during the three-month religiously imposed waiting period (“‘iddat al-ṭalāq”) but not afterward.

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