Allocation of Marital Property and Spousal Maintenance Considerations

maintenance, Aurora family law attorneyFinancial and property considerations can be very complicated parts of the divorce process. It is often difficult to determine who should get what, and how much is fair based on the specific circumstances of the case. For many couples, the concepts of dividing marital assets and spousal maintenance represent two, very separate ideas. In reality, however, they are often very closely related, and in many cases, decisions regarding one directly affects the other.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, or alimony as it is sometimes called, is intended to help a financially-disadvantaged spouse alleviate some of the economic impact of a divorce and a post-divorce life. To determine if maintenance is needed, in the absence of an agreement between the spouses, the court must take into account a number of factors regarding the marriage and divorce. These include each spouse’s income and needs, the contributions to the marriage and toward the earning capacity of the other, as well as the length of the marriage and the established standard of living.

Property Division

Similarly, when the division of marital property is left to the court, the circumstances of the marriage and divorce must also be carefully weighed. The court must take into account—again—the income and needs of each spouse, as well as any claims of dissipation, which spouse wishes to remain in the marital home, and any provisions regarding the couple’s children.

Equitable and Just

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court must also consider whether the allocation of property “is lieu of or in addition to maintenance.” This means that the court must take a bigger-picture approach to the proceedings. As a result, the court could decide to allocate less marital property to a spouse who is set to receive continuing payments of spousal maintenance. Conversely, the court could decide not to award maintenance, and instead allocate a larger portion of the marital estate to the spouse seeking alimony.

The ultimate decision regarding property division is required by law to be equitable. This does not guarantee an equal distribution between the spouses. Instead, it recognizes that each spouse may require a greater or lesser portion of the marital estate to meet their own needs and those of their children. In much the same way, spousal maintenance is intended to be based on need, and not preconceived notions of one spouse deserving something from the other.

If you have questions about the allocation of marital property and how it could potentially affect a request for spousal maintenance, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. We will review your case and help you understand your options under the law. Call [[phone]] to schedule your introductory consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=0&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=8350000

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