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Setting the Record Straight: Common Divorce Myths and Their TruthsMost of the public perception of divorce is just what people have seen in movies and television or what they have heard from family and friends. While Hollywood does a good job of making intriguing entertainment, it can be partially to blame for some of the misinformation that has been spread about divorce. Divorce myths and misinformation can not only confuse you, but they can also be detrimental if you base your divorce decisions off of them. If you are considering filing for a divorce, you should be thoroughly informed of what you are getting yourself into before you do. Here are a few common divorce myths and the truths behind them:

1. Proving that your spouse committed adultery will help your case.

This might have been true 50 years ago, but most divorce courts no longer give any weight toward claims of adultery. In fact, most divorce courts do not care what the specific reason for divorce is. In Illinois, the only type of divorce that is recognized anymore is a “no-fault” divorce. Instead of choosing a reason for getting the divorce, you now only have to prove that there were irreconcilable differences that resulted in the inevitable breakdown of the marriage. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act also specifically states that decisions will be made “without regard to marital misconduct.”

2. Mothers always receive custody of the children.

This one was also somewhat true for a long time. Now, the state of Illinois does not care whether it is the mother or the father who receives a majority of the parenting time. The only thing that Illinois courts are concerned with is the best interest and the wellbeing of any children who are a part of a divorce. If that means that it is in the children’s best interest to spend most of their time with their father, then that is what the court will decide on.

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Who Gets the Pets in an Illinois Divorce?For many people, pets are like family members. Some people even think of their pets as if they were their children. If you are a pet owner, one issue that may arise during your divorce is who gets to keep the pet(s). Pets can be a big point of contention during a divorce, making for tense situations and heated arguments. Just a few years ago, the state of Illinois treated pets in a divorce like any other piece of marital property. During the allocation of the couple’s property, the pet was awarded to one of the spouses. In 2018, Illinois made a change to the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to allow judges to determine which spouse would be the best caretaker for the animal.

Changing Attitudes

Before the amendment to the Act was passed, pets were treated as property. Most of the time, the spouse who paid for the animal or who had a better financial situation between the two spouses was the one who was awarded the pet. Because of this, pets sometimes lost the person who cared about them the most and some spouses were left with animals they did not actually want.

Now, judges actually treat pets as if they were more like children, rather than property. Judges will look at the entire situation concerning the pet and make a decision based on the pet’s wellbeing. Situations involving pets function much like how custody situations with children function. A spouse can be awarded either full ownership of the pet or joint ownership with their ex-spouse.

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Modifying Maintenance Orders After Your Illinois DivorceFor many people, a divorce is a new start to their lives. The finalization of a divorce is a cause for celebration, especially considering how long and difficult the divorce process can be. Though you may want to forget that your former spouse exists after your divorce is over with, you may never truly be 100 percent separate from him or her, especially if you have children together. Many divorces will end with certain child support, spousal maintenance and parental responsibility orders being given, but that does not mean they are permanent. In some cases, you may need to revisit these issues and come to a new agreement. If this happens, you will have to petition for an order modification.

Factors Considered for Maintenance Modification

Either spouse – the payer or the receiver – can request to have spousal maintenance orders modified. Maintenance orders will be modified only if there is a significant change in circumstances to either spouse’s situation. In order to determine whether or not a modification is called for, the judge will look at a variety of factors, including:

  • Any change in employment status of either spouse and whether or not that change was made in good faith;
  • The efforts made by the receiving spouse to become self-supporting;
  • Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of either spouse;
  • The tax consequences of the maintenance payments for each spouse;
  • The duration of the maintenance payments paid in relation to the length of the marriage;
  • The property awarded to each spouse in the divorce;
  • The increase or decrease in each spouse’s income since ordering the maintenance payments; and
  • The property acquired and currently owned by each spouse.

The factors used during the initial maintenance determination will also be considered when a modification to the maintenance order is requested.

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Will I Get Spousal Maintenance After My Illinois Divorce?Getting spousal support is not guaranteed in any Illinois divorce. Before a judge decides to award spousal maintenance to either spouse in a divorce, you must prove that there is a reasonable need for you to be awarded support. Getting a divorce can sometimes leave one spouse in a worse financial situation than the other spouse, and the income of each spouse is often used as one of the main driving forces behind the decision to award spousal maintenance. Spousal support is used as a way to help a financially dependent spouse eventually become financially independent, which is why not all divorce cases require spousal maintenance. 

Factors for Consideration

Illinois law states that there are certain factors that judges must consider in order to award spousal maintenance to one spouse. These factors include:

  • The income and property of each spouse, taking into account property and liabilities awarded to each spouse as a result of the divorce;
  • The needs of each spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
  • Whether or not there are any impairments to the earning capacity of each spouse due to committing time to domestic duties or delaying education, training or employment opportunities because of the marriage;
  • How much time will be necessary to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to get an education, training and/or employment and whether or not that spouse will be able to support him or herself during that time;
  • The effect that any parental responsibility arrangements will have on either spouse’s ability to maintain employment;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The age and health of each spouse;
  • The tax consequences for each spouse;
  • Any valid agreement between the spouses; and
  • Any other factor the court deems to be relevant.

Contact a DuPage County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer Today

For some couples, spousal maintenance may be unnecessary for many reasons. For other couples, spousal maintenance may be completely necessary to allow one spouse to get back on his or her feet. If you are unsure of whether or not spousal maintenance is necessary for your divorce, you should contact a Homewood, Illinois, spousal maintenance attorney. At The Foray Firm, we can help you make sure you are getting spousal support if you need it. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to set up a consultation.

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Three Tips for Reducing the Stress of Your Illinois DivorceIf you are going through the divorce process, you know that it can all begin to feel like a full-time job some days. That feeling can be exacerbated if your spouse is especially combative, your children begin to feel the effects of the divorce or you worry about how things will turn out. Even though your divorce can be extremely stressful, the important thing to remember is that it will all be over at some point and you and your children will be happier and thriving. Getting through the divorce is the hard part, so here are a few tips for helping you to cope with the stress of your divorce:

  1. Allow Yourself to Feel What You Are Feeling: As much as you would like to be a superhero, you still have to deal with your feelings and emotions. During a divorce, you may feel a plethora of emotions – anger, disgust, hate, contempt, sadness and even depression. The important thing to remember is that all of these emotions are completely normal and allowing yourself to feel them is the first step towards moving on.
  2. Take Care of Yourself: Some days you may not feel like doing much or even getting out of bed. While it is much easier to wallow in your self-pity, taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is a better way to cope with your stress. Make sure you are eating right, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly. Feeling physically good can help you feel good all over.
  3. Surround Yourself With Friends and Family: Another thing that you should avoid doing is isolating yourself from others. Having a support group in place is a blessing that can really come in handy. Surround yourself with all of your friends, family, coworkers, and other acquaintances so that you have people you can talk to. Sometimes, it can help to talk to a professional counselor or psychologist who can work with you to organize your thoughts and feelings.

Get Help From a Compassionate DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

At The Foray Firm, we understand how difficult a divorce can be on you and your entire family. Our job is to help you through the divorce by ensuring that your rights are protected and making the process as simple as possible. Let our skilled Bolingbrook divorce attorneys help you with all aspects of your divorce, from property division to the allocation of parental responsibilities and child support. To learn more about how we can help you, call our office today at 312-702-1293 to set up a consultation. 

Sources:

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BBA Of Will County Illinois State Bar Association Cook County Bar Association The National Bar Association BWLA
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