When considering divorce, mothers often have questions and concerns about their rights. They want to know how custody will work, what property they will get, and whether or not they will get any continued financial support. Mothers who stayed at home to raise and care for shared children may have even greater concern, and worry about their ability to continue to support themselves and their children. Illinois law identifies a number of considerations to provide support to mothers after divorce.
According to Illinois law, during divorce a court has the power to distribute marital property, or property that is shared in ownership between both spouses, in “just proportions.” The law instructs the court to consider all relevant factors, including:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the property;
- The property’s value;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse;
- Obligations or rights from any prior marriages;
- The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse; and
- Whether there will be any award of spousal support.
For mothers who may have given up a career, or reduced their employment to part-time to raise children, the list of factors allows the court to consider the spouse’s contribution as a full-time parent. It also allows the court to take the varied parental responsibilities into account when distributing property such as a family home or vehicle; the law specifically notes that the court must consider the desirability of the family home being awarded to the spouse with custody of the children.
Spousal support, which is also called spousal maintenance in Illinois, is a regular payment from one spouse to another. According to Illinois law, maintenance can be awarded either in a lump sum, in fixed amounts, for either an indefinite or limited period of time. In order to decide whether or not to grant maintenance, the court is required to consider relevant factors, including:
- Each spouse’s income and property;
- Each spouse’s needs;
- Each spouse’s present and future earning capacity (including the impairment of future earning capacity due to time devoted to domestic duties);
- The standard of living established during the marriage; and
- The duration of the marriage.
If a court decides that it would be appropriate to award maintenance, the amount to be awarded is calculated based on guidelines specified in the law.
Separately from child support, a parent who has primary custody, or the majority of the parenting time responsibility for his or her children may be awarded child support. According to Illinois law, courts can award child support based on an obligation for a parent to provide for the reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child. Generally, child support amounts are determined based on guidelines specified in the law, but the court may deviate from the guidelines based on a number of factors.
When considering divorce, it is normal to have questions about what to expect. If you have questions about your divorce, contact our experienced attorneys at the SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC, in Rolling Meadows, for a free initial consultation.