If you have been married for years and are now thinking about filing for divorce in Chicago, it is extremely important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side. After years or sometimes decades of marriage, elements of an Illinois divorce such as the division of marital property can become quite complicated. For example, how can you determine whether certain assets that you have held for many years will be subject to division? What will happen to commingled accounts that may have been brought into the marriage? These questions, as well as significant concerns about spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”), often arise in long term marriages that result in divorce.
A dedicated Chicago divorce attorney at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group can help with your case. We understand how anxiety inducing the prospect of divorce can be for women and mothers at any point in a marriage, and we know that it can feel particularly difficult to bounce back from a lifetime spent in a long-term marriage. One of our advocates can answer your questions today.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/) governs the laws surrounding the dissolution of marriage in Chicago, as well as laws concerning spousal maintenance. For spouses who have been married for many years, it is important to recognize that the formula takes into account the combined income of the spouses and the length of the marriage. As such, someone who has been married for a longer period of time may be eligible for a different spousal maintenance award.
Specifically, long-term marriages tend to result in a longer duration of spousal maintenance. In any divorce, the court will first need to decide whether spousal maintenance is appropriate. To determine whether spousal maintenance should be awarded, the court will look to a number of different factors, including the duration of the marriage. As such, a long-term marriage may be more likely to result in a spousal maintenance award.
Once the court decides that spousal maintenance (also known as spousal support or alimony) is appropriate, then it will need to decide the amount of those payments and the length of time for which they will continue (the “duration” of the maintenance). The duration of a marriage is a variable in the formula used for determining the duration of a spousal maintenance award. For marriages that have lasted a particularly long time, maintenance payments can last anywhere from a decade to a lifetime.
For instance (in cases where the parties’ combined, gross income is less than $250,000), for marriages that lasted between 15 and 20 years, the court will take the number of years married and multiply it by .8. That total equals the duration of the spousal maintenance award. And for marriages that have lasted 20 years or longer (in cases where the parties’ combined, gross income is less than $250,000), the court can award maintenance either permanently or for the length of the marriage (e.g., spousal support for 25 years for a marriage that lasted 25 years).
In addition to questions about spousal maintenance, long-term marriages can also result in complicated issues involving property division. An experienced Chicago divorce lawyer can assist with your case. Contact the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group today to learn more about how we can be your advocate in this process.
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