Lake County Spousal Support Attorney

Illinois Spousal Support Lawyers servicing Lake County, Kane County, McHenry County, and Cook County, Illinois

Going through a divorce is an emotionally turbulent experience. Of the many aspects you must consider, the issue of maintenance, formally known as alimony, but often referred to as spousal support, can be one of the most complex to navigate. 

If you find yourself facing this situation in Lake County, Kane County, McHenry County, or Cook County, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable and compassionate Illinois spousal support attorney by your side to guide you through the legal and financial intricacies.

A Illinois spousal support lawyer working in Lake County from Manassa Law P.C. can answer your questions and provide you with dedicated support throughout the divorce process. We can help protect your rights and interests whether you are the paying spouse or the one receiving spousal maintenance.

Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

What Is Spousal Support?

Maintenance, formally known as alimony, is a form of court-ordered support from one spouse to the other spouse either during and/or after a divorce. These payments are designed to help the receiving spouse maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.

Understanding Spousal Support in Illinois

Lake County Spousal Support Attorney

In Illinois, spousal support can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the circumstances of the case.

The first step is to determine whether a spouse is entitled to spousal support. To determine a spousal’s entitlement to spousal support, the court considers various factors, including:

  1. The income and property of each party;
  2. The needs of each party;
  3. The realistic present and future earning potential and capacity of each spouse;
  4. Whether there are any impairments of a parties’ earning potential and/or capacity of each spouse;
  5. The time necessary to enable the party seeking support to acquire appropriate education, training, employment, and whether that party is able to support themselves through appropriate employment;
  6. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  7. The length of the marriage;
  8. The age, health, occupations, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each party;
  9. The tax consequences of each party;
  10. The contributions and services by the party seeking spousal support to the education, training, career or career potential of the other spouse.

Once it is established that a spouse is entitled to maintenance, then and only then does the court determine the amount and duration of spousal support. Similar to child support, spousal support is subject to a formula based on incomes of the parties. The court has the discretion to follow the formula exactly, often referred to as statutory guidelines, or the court may find that a non-guideline amount and/or duration is appropriate given the factors discussed above. 

It is important to note that Courts award spousal support separate from child support. Spousal support is determined strictly for the support of a spouse, whereas child support is determined strictly for the support of minor children. There is some crossover between these two types of financial support. When the Court determines what child support amount is appropriate, the Court considers the receiving spouse’s maintenance as a form of income for calculating child support. 

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Since January 1, 2019, spousal support payments are no longer deductible for the paying spouse, and spousal support payments are not considered income for tax purposes for the receiving spouse. This change applies to both federal and Illinois state income taxes.

Illinois modified its spousal maintenance tax laws around the same time. Now, courts look at the paying spouse’s net income after taxes rather than their gross pre-tax income when calculating spousal support payments. 

The new tax laws in Illinois apply to spousal support granted after January 1, 2019. Parties awarded alimony prior to that date may still take advantage of federal and state income tax benefits.

Whether you’re the paying spouse or the receiving spouse, it’s essential to work with an experienced spousal support attorney in Illinois who can help you understand the tax implications and ensure that you are complying with all relevant tax laws and regulations.

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Spousal Support?

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Spousal Support

Not paying court-ordered spousal support can have serious legal and financial consequences for the non-paying spouse.

Here are some potential consequences of failing to pay spousal support:

  • Contempt of Court Charges: Failure to pay spousal support is considered a violation of a court order. The spouse who is owed support can file a motion for contempt of court against the non-paying spouse. If the court finds the non-paying spouse in contempt, it may impose penalties such as fines, jail time, or garnishment of wages to enforce the support order. These procedures often require the non-paying spouse to pay for the receiving spouse’s attorney’s fees for having to pursue such action. 
  • Income Withholding: The court has the authority to withhold spousal support payments from the paying spouse’s paycheck to ensure the payments are being made directly to the receiving spouse. This is very similar to a wage garnishment that creditors often obtain against a debtor.  
  • Tax Refund Interception: In some cases, the court may intercept the non-paying spouse’s federal and state tax refunds to collect past-due spousal support payments.
  • Property Liens: The court can place a lien on the non-paying spouse’s property, such as their home, vehicles, or other assets, to secure the owed spousal support payments.
  • Credit Damage: Failure to pay spousal support can negatively impact the non-paying spouse’s credit score, making it more difficult to obtain loans, credit cards, or other forms of credit in the future.
  • Interest and Penalties: The court may impose interest charges and additional penalties on the non-paying spouse for each missed or late spousal support payment.
  • Difficulty in Modifying Support Order: If the non-paying spouse later seeks to modify or terminate the spousal support order, the court may hold their failure to pay against them. This can make it more difficult to obtain a favorable ruling.

Spousal support orders are legally binding, and failing to comply with them can have severe consequences. If the court ordered your ex-spouse to pay spousal support but they did not, contact us right away to discuss your options of holding them accountable and getting the money you need. 

If you are experiencing financial difficulties that make paying spousal support challenging, consult with one of our experienced family law attorneys. They may help you seek a modification of the order or explore alternative solutions to avoid further legal and financial consequences.

The Benefits of Hiring a Skilled Spousal Support Attorney

Navigating the legal and financial complexities of spousal support can overwhelm anyone, especially during the emotional turmoil of a divorce.

Hiring a skilled and compassionate spousal support attorney can provide numerous benefits:

  • Legal Knowledge and Guidance: An experienced family law attorney in Illinois knows the state’s laws. They can inform you of your rights and help to protect them while guiding you through the process.
  • Negotiation Skills: Spousal support often involves complex negotiations between the parties. An attorney can negotiate for you and help you reach a fair settlement.
  • Trial Representation: If the other party won’t agree on spousal support terms, you may need to take your case to court. Your attorney can represent you at trial and present a compelling case on your behalf to obtain a favorable ruling.
  • Financial Guidance: Spousal support has significant financial implications, including tax considerations. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance on the financial aspects of spousal support. They can help you make informed decisions that protect your long-term financial interests.
  • Emotional Support and Objectivity: Dealing with spousal support issues and going through a divorce is a highly emotional process. Your attorney can offer a calming presence when emotions run high and help you make prudent and appropriate decisions. 

The Lake County, Kane County, McHenry County, and Cook County Spousal Support Attorneys at Manassa Law PC Can Help

Lawrence S. Manassa, Child Custody Laywer
Spousal Support Lawyer in Lake County, IL, Lawrence Manassa

Navigating the complexities of spousal support in Illinois, can involve an emotionally charged process. However, with the right legal representation, you can overcome these challenges effectively and get the results you deserve.

A skilled and compassionate Lake County family law attorney from Manassa Law PC will be your advocate and confidant. We can guide you through the legal and financial intricacies while providing the emotional support you need during this difficult time.

Contact us today at (847) 221-5511 to request a free initial consultation.