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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1909339975.jpgAlso known as alimony or spousal maintenance, “spousal support” is technically the term used in Illinois for payments made from one former spouse to another after a divorce has been finalized. While not every divorce decree contains an order for spousal support, when it is ordered, it is legally enforceable and failing to make payments carries legal consequences. 

The recipient of spousal support is often dependent on the funds for essentials like housing, food, and clothing. While spousal support is meant for the spouse, it often also contributes to the expenses associated with raising children. If spousal support payments do not come on time or at all, it can have a seriously detrimental effect on both a parent and child. If you should be receiving spousal support and your ex has decided not to pay for any reason, an experienced Illinois family law attorney may be able to help. 

Do I Need to Go to Court to Enforce Alimony? 

Most experts recommend that the first course of action is to have a conversation with your ex. Everyone falls on hard times and there may be a legitimate reason that he or she is unable to make payments. In that case, you may be able to agree together about what to do until things get back to normal. However, even if you do decide to create an agreement outside of court, it is best to have it in writing with both spouses’ signatures. That way, if a spouse still fails to abide by your informal agreement, you have proof that he or she agreed to it. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_566796565.jpgThanks to the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges supreme court case, same-sex families in Illinois can get married. Along with an increase in LGBT marriage has come an increase in couples who want to adopt or have children through methods such as egg donation and gestational surrogacy. While these methods are wonderful for building families, they do have legal complications and it is important to understand how Illinois law handles cases where one or both parents do not have a biological relationship with the child. 

Illinois Egg Donors Do Not Have Parental Rights 

When an egg donor helps an individual or couple conceive through assisted reproductive techniques, the donor completely gives up their legal parental rights to any children that result from their donation. Because an egg donor does not have parental rights, both members of a same-sex couple may have parental rights for a child conceived through egg donation.

The most common form of egg donation agreement is completely anonymous, meaning that after the parents select the donor from a list of possible candidates, the donor and the parents do not know anything further about each other and do not remain in contact after the donor completes the fertility cycle in which eggs are retrieved. While intended parents may choose to share more personal details with a donor, such as the fact that they are a same-sex couple, anonymous donation agreements still allow the intended parents to have full legal rights over the child. 

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Arlington heights divorce lawyerMost couples do everything they can to reconcile their differences before resorting to divorce, especially when there are children involved. While couple’s therapy, family counseling, and renewed efforts to revive a relationship may work for some people, for other couples, divorce is inevitable. 

Some couples agree that divorce is the best option, but it is common for one spouse to be confident about the decision to divorce while the other spouse still hopes or wishes to reconcile. A spouse who is determined to exhaust all possible options cannot ultimately prevent a divorce from happening, but he or she can slow things down and make it more difficult for a divorce to proceed. One way this might happen is through trying to convince a court that reconciliation may still be possible and asking for a conciliation conference. 

What is a Conciliation Conference? 

Couples in Illinois no longer have to prove fault in a divorce case. In the past, abandonment, infidelity, and abuse could be difficult to prove and were not necessarily present in marriages that spouses wished to end. Today, fortunately, couples in Illinois need only list “irreconcilable differences” as their cause for divorce. 

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chicago divorce lawyerWhile divorce is difficult for everyone involved, it often presents a different set of challenges to men and women. Women are more likely to become depressed than men and the divorce process is littered with complications that can rattle the confidence of even the most self-assured woman. Women also tend to earn less than men and are nearly always the primary child caregivers, meaning that their financial, physical, and mental burdens are often increased substantially during divorce. If you are a woman considering divorce in Illinois, here are five things that you should know. 

It is Normal to Feel Emotional

Many women resist feeling the full extent of their emotions because they need to think clearly. But emotions are powerful and useful, and they can have a place in making wise decisions. It is perfectly normal to feel angry, hurt, frightened, confused, and even happy during the divorce process. Whether or not you allow these feelings to drive your decision-making process is ultimately up to you, but you should never feel shame for allowing your emotions to run strong during this period of major upheaval. 

Seek Social Support

An important part of working through your emotions during divorce is having a great support system. Unfortunately, divorce tends to divide extended families, friend groups, and other social circles. This can make getting social support challenging. Yet good friends often show their colors during our most challenging periods; pay attention to people who remain close to you and leverage the help they offer. 

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Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_522146809_20220131-150636_1.jpgOn January 1, 2019, a new federal law called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed the way that divorced spouses could deduct taxes from spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support). Because tax deductions are under the purview of federal law, this law applied to all states, including Illinois. While each state could still set their own guidelines for how spousal maintenance payments would be calculated, the tax implications of these payments changed. Naturally, many people may have questions about what this means for their divorce or spousal maintenance renegotiation. 

Which Spouse is Responsible for Taxes on Spousal Maintenance?  

Before 2019, the spouse making spousal maintenance payments could deduct those payments from his or her taxable income. The spouse receiving payments would pay taxes on the spousal maintenance as if it were income. With the TCJA, the spouse making payments now cannot deduct them from his or her taxable income and the spouse receiving payments does not pay taxes on them. This means that the spouse who makes payments is also responsible for paying taxes on that amount. 

Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law Changes

2019 also brought changes to the way spousal maintenance payments themselves are calculated in Illinois. Before 2019, spousal maintenance payments were generally calculated by taking 30% of the paying spouse’s gross income and subtracting 20% of the receiving spouse’s gross income. Now, those percentages have changed to 33.33% and 25%, respectively, of each spouse’s net income. The 2019 changes to Illinois’ spousal maintenance law also reduced the length of spousal maintenance payments for many spouses. 

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