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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorney

If you are planning to divorce, you may have questions about how you can protect your rights and reach a divorce settlement that is reasonable and fair. You may want the legal protection and support that comes with hiring a lawyer but are worried that bringing lawyers into the equation could make your divorce more adversarial. Whether your worries are accurate or not, there is an option in Illinois that allows divorcing couples to work with attorneys under a non-adversarial process. Collaborative divorce, or a divorce resolved by means of collaborative law, is an alternative resolution method that has helped many couples settle divorce issues without resorting to stressful and often antagonistic litigation.

What Happens During a Collaborative Divorce?

During a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains his or her own lawyer who provides legal guidance throughout the collaborative process. The spouses and their respective lawyers will work together to negotiate unresolved divorce issues during a series of informal meetings. The purpose of these meetings is not to “win” or “lose,” but instead to reach mutually agreeable solutions regarding the division of marital property and debt, spousal maintenance, child custody, and other divorce-related disputes. Once an agreement has been reached, the lawyers submit the necessary paperwork to the court and the agreements are written into the final divorce decree.

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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance, spousal support, and alimony are all terms used to describe payments that one spouse may be ordered to pay to the other spouse as a result of a divorce. Typically, spousal maintenance is awarded when one spouse lacks sufficient income to support themselves in the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to during the marriage. Spousal maintenance may be awarded based on the directions contained in a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or other valid marital agreement or it may be awarded on a case-by-case basis by the court. If you have reason to believe that you or your spouse will have to pay spousal support, you may have many questions about the amount and duration of the payments.  

When Does an Illinois Court Award Spousal Support?

If no valid marital agreement describes a spouse’s maintenance obligation, the court will decide whether or not maintenance is appropriate and necessary by weighing a number of factors. These factors typically include but are not limited to:

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Illinois family law attorneys, Illinois maintenance guidelines, family law attorney, alimony, maintenance, divorce finances, maintenance calculation, spousal maintenanceIn divorce cases, due to the discretion afforded a trial court, the calculation of maintenance can vary significantly from judge to judge and county to county. However, this should change as of January 1, 2015. The Illinois legislature has enacted a new law that impacts how courts will determine maintenance in divorce cases, and it will have a significant impact on future maintenance determinations in Illinois.

In many divorce cases, maintenance calculations have been difficult to ascertain. Judges have often had great discretion in awarding maintenance. However, a new Public Act impacts how courts will award maintenance to couples with a combined income of less than $250,000.

How Judges Previously Calculated Maintenance

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illinois alimony modificaionIn a divorce proceeding, a court can sometimes award one spouse maintenance. This is a monetary award usually paid monthly by one divorcing spouse, which is supposed to help support the other divorcing spouse. Spousal support can be awarded to either spouse, and is based on the facts of a case and a judge's consideration of certain factors provided by the law. Divorcing parties can also come together and agree to the amount of support to be paid based on negotiations, or on a prior document such as a prenuptial agreement. Spousal maintenance is not awarded based on which spouse was at fault for the demise of the marriage.

Modification May Be Necessary

Sometimes, the spouse ordered to pay support may find that for one reason or another, they are not able to keep up with the maintenance payments. According to Illinois law, 750 ILCS 5/502(f), whether or not a spousal maintenance order is modifiable depends on whether or not the order was stated to be non-modifiable. For example, if the award was as a result of an agreement between the spouses, they could have agreed to have spousal maintenance in place for a specific period of time, and made the award non-modifiable.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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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