Considerations for the Higher-Earning Spouse in Divorce

higher-earning spouse, Aurora divorce attorneyIn today’s society, nearly two-thirds of American married couples rely on the income of both parties. While not entirely gone, the idea of a single wage earner—primarily the husband in previous generations—providing for the entire family’s needs is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Whatever the reasons may be, such as failed economic policies, rising inflation, and other concerns, the change in the way a couple earns income has also led to a corresponding change in the approach to dividing property in divorce, if and when the time comes.

Income Disparity

Depending on the situation, it is very likely that the income of each spouse in a two-income marriage will be somewhat, if not drastically different. This is especially true if the couple has children, as one spouse may work a lower-paying job or reduced hours so as to be more available for the children’s needs. The end result is often one spouse making significantly more money than the other, contributing more directly to the family’s wealth and property.

Divorce Concerns

When a couple divorces, Illinois law requires that the division of marital assets should be done equitably, not necessarily equal. Such a division means that each spouse should get a fair portion based on the circumstances of the marriage, and there is no guarantee of a 50/50 split. But what does that mean for the higher-earning spouse? Does the fact that he or she contributed more money to the marital estate throughout the marriage matter at all?

What Does the Law Say?

To an extent, the higher-earning spouse’s contributions do matter. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that one of the factors in determining equitable distribution is “each party’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value of the marital or non-marital property.” This consideration, though, is not limited to money, which means that a lower-earning spouse or a stay-at-home parent is not completely out of luck. The law goes on to clarify that a spouse who contributes to the family unit or serves as a homemaker is also entitled to consideration for his or her contributions.

The law does not provide exact formulas or percentages to quantify consideration of each spouse’s contribution. Instead, it is left up to the court to weigh the contributions along with many other factors and to fairly allocate the marital property.

Let Us Help

If you are considering divorce but are afraid that you will not get the fair settlement you deserve, contact an experienced Aurora divorce attorney. We will review your case, explain your options, and remain at your side throughout the process, from negotiation all the way through litigation if necessary. Call [[phone]] to schedule an initial consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., today.



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