Divorce Attorneys in DuPage County

Representing Clients Throughout Oakbrook, Kane County, Kendall County, & Cook County

During a divorce, your life can be turned upside down. Everything is put on the negotiating table. The impact on your financial future may have ripple effects that last for years. We’re here to fight for the best interests of our clients. Going through a divorce can be a difficult time for people on a personal level. There’s also a lot to be sorted out from a legal standpoint. When children are involved, decisions must be made to best support their interests; property must be divided; and financial decisions can be complex. When you work with Tameling & Associates, you will have the guidance of experienced divorce attorneys fighting for you.

How is Property Divided in an Illinois Divorce? 

Property division in Illinois is governed by the principle of equitable distribution. This does not require that property be split evenly between the spouses–although that is certainly a possible outcome and some judges may consider it a starting point. Equitable distribution simply requires that the property division be something that can reasonably be considered equitable. That often starts with understanding what is non-marital property and what is marital property.

Non-marital property is that which each spouse owned individually before a marriage. Family heirlooms are an example. Stock portfolios and 401(k) accounts might be another. Whatever the property is, if it was acquired before the wedding date it will generally be considered separate property. Inheritances are considered separate property.

Marital property is that which the couples acquire together after the wedding. The purchase of a house is a common example, as is the acquisition of furniture. Stocks and 401(k) accounts can also fall under this classification.

It’s a common misperception that someone’s 401(k) account is their separate property because their name is the only one on the account. That doesn’t matter–the money that is built up in an account after the wedding date is marital property.

Then there’s the possibility that property may have been commingled. This is when property that would otherwise be considered separate is blended in with marital property. The end result might be a judge deciding that everything is marital property.

Examples of commingling might include putting an inheritance into a joint savings account or towards real estate that is considered marital property. It’s also worth noting that under Illinois law, if the couple moves into a house that was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, the home is considered commingled and becomes marital property. 

Tameling & Associates has been helping spouses through divorce settlements and trials since 1995. Our founding partner, Eva W. Tameling has been handling family law cases since 1979. That kind of experience means that Tameling & Associates knows what questions have to be asked and what issues must be raised to fight for you.

Will I have to pay Maintenance? Could I receive Maintenance forever? 

There are situations where one spouse in a marriage earned a higher level of income than the other may have. Furthermore, that situation may have arisen because one spouse made a decision to undertake actions that benefitted the marriage as a whole, even though they did not necessarily generate income. The most common example is leaving a career to raise children. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to allow the economically disadvantaged spouse to live in the same lifestyle they had enjoyed during the marriage, or at least as reasonably close to that as possible.

Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, and sometimes referred to as spousal support, is intended to offer economic protection to a spouse that sacrificed income for other worthy goals during the marriage. Illinois law sees the marriage as a whole, and all actions that benefitted the marriage are valued in the eyes of the law. 

Maintenance Calculation

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act modified the guidelines for maintenance in 2019. A formula was put in place to give judges a clear-cut way to establish the amount and duration based on specific factors.

The court will consider the ability to pay by the higher income earner, the earning capacity of the lower income earner, the needs to each spouse, and the length of the marriage. The formula starts with 33% of what the higher-earning spouse makes. From that figure, you subtract 25% of what the economically disadvantaged spouse makes. The amount remaining is the annual maintenance payment. The calculation is adjusted, however, if the amount the payee receives is more than 40% of the combined net incomes of the parties. In that situation, maintenance will be reduced to account for that excess. 

So, let’s say one spouse is making $120,000 per year, while the other spouse makes $40,000 annually. Under this formula, you would take $40,000 (33% of $120K) and subtract $10,000 (25% of $40K). That leaves $30,000 to be paid out in spousal support over the course of a year. This calculation does not trigger the 40% rule.

Maintenance Duration

The duration of maintenance payments will be determined by the length of the marriage. A couple that was married for 20 years will have a considerably longer period of time where spousal support is in effect, then would a couple that divorced after 5 years of marriage.

Illinois law calls for couples who were married five years or less to have maintenance cease after a time period that equates to 20 percent of the time they were married. For a five-year marriage, that means 1 year of spousal support payments. Alternatively, marriages of 20 years or more can have the maintenance period match the duration of the marriage. For marriages between 5 years and 20 years, the length of maintenance increases with the length of the marriage. 

However, when looking at the marital assets as a whole, the amount and duration of maintenance can be adjusted based on the division of other assets. Every situation is unique. Our attorneys will assess the unique aspects of your situation. You will have an experienced attorney on your side to represent you in negotiations and litigation.

Going through a divorce settlement can be confusing and stressful, but an experienced divorce attorney can at least take the legal burden off your shoulders. Tameling & Associates, P.C. has been serving clients from our Oak Brook office since 1995.

Call Tameling & Associates at (630) 394-5944 or contact us online for a consultation. Our Attorneys are located in Oak Brook and serve clients across DuPage County, Cook County (both Downtown and Suburban Cook County), Kane County, Will County, and Kendall County.

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