If you are at the end of your marriage, you are going through a difficult time. Not only can a potential divorce be emotionally traumatic, but the financial effects are also significant. If you live in Frankfort, the Will County Courts have an obligation to end your marriage in an equitable manner. One major part of this process is the potential establishment of alimony, which is also known as maintenance or spousal support.

Courts will attempt to place both you and your spouse in a fair financial footing after the end of the marriage. If one party earns more income than the other, the court may order them to provide spousal support. This is usually a mathematical calculation, but courts have been known to deviate from the set guidelines.

A Frankfort lawyer could help you to understand the impact that spousal support could have on you. In addition, our divorce attorneys at Reidy Law Office LLC could help to explain the new laws that went into effect in 2019 and modify an existing order to help you regain financial balance.

The Legal Basis for Spousal Support

Alimony is a key matter to be decided in a divorce proceeding. Whenever a marriage comes to an end, a court is required to make an equitable distribution of assets and finances. Equitable is not the same thing as equal. Equitable tries to make a “fair” outcome based upon your unique circumstance. If one spouse would be put into a significantly superior financial position following a divorce, a judge may order the payment of this support.

According to 750 ILCS 5/504, courts will examine the totality of circumstances to determine if alimony is appropriate. These factors include:

  • The income of each party, including prior maintenance orders
  • The needs of each party
  • The future earning capacity of each party
  • Any parental responsibilities of either party
  • The standard of living during the marriage

If the court determines that a support order is appropriate, it will use a formula to determine the amount and length of the support. A Frankfort lawyer could help clients to evaluate whether a spousal maintenance order is appropriate in your divorce case.

Changes to the Law in 2019

The baseline for any spousal support order is known as guideline maintenance. This typically applies if the combined income of both parties is less than $500,000 and neither party has a prior support order. As of 2019, to determine this value, the court will take 33.33 percent of the payor’s net income and subtract 25 percent of the payee’s net income.

The changes in the law also affect how alimony is taxed. Under the new system, the tax deduction for the person paying alimony is eliminated and the income from spousal support is now tax-free for the person receiving the payments.

If you are already subject to a support order, you may request a modification if there is a substantial change in circumstances; however, the tax implications may or may not change depending upon your Judgment. If a prior order is no longer appropriate due to changes in marital status, the payee obtaining a new job, or any other substantial change, a Frankfort lawyer could help you request these modifications in alimony.

A Frankfort Lawyer Could Help You Understand Spousal Support

The question of spousal support is probably on your mind if you are facing a divorce. Courts have an obligation to separate divorcing couples in an equitable manner. If a court determines that one spouse owes support to the other, they will typically use a set formula to determine this amount.

Of course, cases are not always this simple. You may require the help of an attorney to make an accurate accounting of the assets in the divorce, to argue for why support may or may not be necessary, or to move for a modification of an existing order. A lawyer could provide a variety of services related to spousal support orders. Click here for answers to your questions.