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Chicago alimony attorneyMany spouses are awarded alimony, or spousal maintenance, both during and after an Illinois divorce. Yet while alimony used to be nearly ubiquitous for women, who were generally the spouse responsible for raising children, Illinois law has changed to reflect the fact that women are often at least as active in the workforce as their partners. 

Among other modifications that modernized the law, there is now no guarantee that a wife will get either full custody or spousal maintenance after a divorce. However, if one spouse would be at a significant financial disadvantage after a marriage ends, a court may order alimony payments. Here are some factors that can influence whether spousal maintenance will be part of your divorce decree. 

Did One Spouse Make Significantly More Than the Other? 

If one spouse outearned the other throughout the marriage and the quality of life of the lesser-earning spouse would be significantly diminished after the divorce, a court may order temporary spousal maintenance even if the lesser-earning spouse is working. Unless the marriage lasted more than 20 years, spousal maintenance will likely only be temporary until the lesser-earning spouse has enough time to get on his or her feet after the divorce. 

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Chicago maintenance attorneyDivorce is known for being expensive and people often put off pursuing divorce for many years because they fear the financial consequences will be too great. Much of the time, the people postponing divorce are women who have given up careers to be homemakers and who, without the assistance of their husbands, worry they cannot pay for an attorney. 

While many of the partners who are reluctant to file for divorce might receive spousal maintenance and money from their marital property after the divorce is finalized, it is impossible to predict how long a divorce will take. Fortunately, there may be another option - temporary relief

Temporary Child Support and Alimony

Illinois law allows spouses to ask a court for a temporary order requiring the other spouse to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance. The spouse petitioning for financial support can file an affidavit stating that they need immediate help and why. This requires the petitioning party to give evidence of their financial status, using income records like bank accounts, W2s, and tax returns, and expense records like mortgage statements, medical expenses, or school tuition. 

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Illinois divorce mediation lawyersMediation can be one of the most valuable tools a divorcing couple has. When utilized wisely and efficiently, it can speed up the divorce process and make difficult areas less contentious. Spouses can benefit from mediation, but children perhaps benefit the most from the potential to reduce conflict between their parents during an otherwise difficult period. 

However, mediation is not appropriate for all divorce cases. Certain situations may make mediation unwise, unsafe, or impossible. If you are getting divorced in Illinois and are wondering whether mediation with a trained and experienced divorce mediator might be right for you, read on. 

Domestic Violence

Both parties must be committed to peaceably resolving their differences for mediation to be successful. When one spouse is abusing the other spouse, it damages whatever little trust might be left to negotiate with. It may also put the victimized spouse in the uncomfortable or dangerous position of being manipulated or further psychologically abused. Victims of domestic violence may feel unsafe or unable to speak their mind, express their concerns, or trust that their spouse is negotiating in good faith. 

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cook county child custody lawyerDivorce is hard on kids in Illinois. They have little to no control over the situation, very little understanding of why it is happening, and often are left to deal with intense emotional fallout from parents who cannot cooperate. Parents who are unable to agree on issues like parenting time and parental responsibilities can expose their children to protracted arguments in which the children feel pressured to take a side. While children are young and impressionable, parents may feel they have successfully “won” their child’s affection and managed to keep them from the other parent. 

But, eventually, children grow up and begin to see the world more clearly. Add to that a hefty dose of teenage hormones, and parents may find they suddenly have a child who prefers their other parent. It can be very difficult to see your child express a preference to live with their other parent, but Illinois courts do take the preferences of the children into account when making decisions about where the child will spend their time. To learn more about when a child can choose the parent they want to live with, read on. 

What is in the Best Interest of the Child? 

There is a hard and fast age at which a child can make an autonomous decision about which parent to live with: 18 (or 19 if the child is still in high school). Before that, Illinois generally allows children’s preferences to be taken into more serious consideration around age 14, but it depends on the maturity of the child and the circumstances of each parent. Children will often decide they want to live with one parent based on a perceived lack of structure or discipline, or because they do not want to live with step-siblings after a remarriage. 

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cool county divorce lawyerBefore divorce proceedings begin and a couple starts negotiating their differences, it can be difficult to tell whether a marriage is likely to end with hostility or respect. Spouses frequently surprise each other by the extent to which they are willing to fight over seemingly small issues. Likewise, a couple may also be surprised by how smoothly they can negotiate.

Although divorce is rarely predictable, certain things can let spouses know whether attempting mediation rather than divorce court is likely an effective strategy. Both mediation and divorce trials have pros and cons, and spouses getting divorced would be wise to weigh their options before making any decisions.

What are the Benefits of Mediation? 

Mediation can be a great strategy for couples who can communicate well and are willing to work hard to minimize hostility and resentment. Openness, honesty, and a willingness to put certain personal differences aside will help divorcing parents focus on more important things like asset division, child support, and allocation of parental responsibilities

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