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Alimony basics to consider in divorce

When Illinois couples consider divorce, there will likely be one spouse concerned about the need to receive support, and the other spouse concerned about having to pay support. Alimony laws vary among jurisdictions, and the rules for awarding alimony and calculating the amounts may differ slightly from one state to the next. However, it will help if a few general aspects of alimony are kept in mind.

Alimony is not guaranteed but rather determined by the unique circumstances of each couple. It is not always awarded to wives, and if the husband is the one earning considerably less, the court may order the wife to pay alimony. Each party's income will be considered along with the potential income and career opportunities for a spouse who is not working at the time of the divorce. Furthermore, any sacrifices made by one spouse during the marriage, such as giving up a career to care for the children will also play a role.

The longer the marriage lasted, the better the chances of alimony being awarded, but keep in mind that spousal support is separate from child support. Also, entitlement for Social Security benefits and retirement are distinct from alimony and worked out separately. When it comes to the tax implications of alimony, it qualifies as taxable income for the person receiving it, while the person paying alimony may deduct payments on his or her tax return.

Fortunately, even though these and other divorce issues such as property division, child custody and parenting plans could seem overwhelming, help is available. An experienced divorce attorney can explain the way alimony is treated in Illinois, and answer any other family law questions. Also, a lawyer can  provide the necessary support and guidance that will typically make the entire divorce process easier.

Source: superpages.com, "Top 10 Things to Know About Collecting Alimony in a Divorce", Accessed on Sept. 6, 2017

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