What happens during a divorce regarding money?
There are several financial issues including property division, child support and spousal support. It is important to understand in general the financial issues involved in a divorce and a general understanding of your rights under Illinois divorce law.
Is it cheaper to live together during the divorce process?
Yes, if for no other reason than because after the divorce there will be two residences to maintain, and so two rents or mortgage payments.
The lion’s share of the assets…
I am a wife who brought no income into the marriage. I was not employed outside of the home. I raised the children. Will my husband get the lion’s share of the assets because he was the only income producer?
No. First, even though you were not employed outside of the home while your husband was, the law gives you credit in regard to property distribution for your services as a homemaker. Generally, the courts consider the homemaker contribution as equal to the husband’s paycheck contribution. You should usually receive at least 50 percent of the marital assets. You may receive somewhat more than 50 percent.
What to do when there is a budget shortfall?
Throughout the marriage I have been a homemaker and have raised the children. I have no specific income-generating skills. Even if I receive close to 50 percent of my husband’s income, it will leave a budget shortfall. What do I do?
A divorce often means that the luxury of the children having a stay at home parent may be gone. Child support law in Illinois provides:
If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be calculated based on a determination of potential income. A determination of potential income shall be made by determining employment potential and probable earnings level based on the obligor’s work history, occupational qualifications, prevailing job opportunities, the ownership by a parent of a substantial non-income producing asset, and earnings levels in the community. If there is insufficient work history to determine employment potential and probable earnings level, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the parent’s potential income is 75% of the most recent United States Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of one person.
My husband, during the marriage, honed his income generating skills while I took care of the home and family. Will the law compensate me for this?
Yes. There are two ways. As described, under Illinois law, we see that the stay-at-home spouse often may receive more than 50 percent of the marital estate. But more importantly, that spouse also is generally a candidate for alimony maintenance.
Exceptions where Divorce is financially advantages…
You said that with few exceptions divorce does not financially advantage either party. What is an example of an exception where a party is financially advantaged by a divorce?
If you have non-marital property (premaritally owned or acquired by gift or inheritance and held in your own name) which produces a significant amount of income, and the income has been used for family purposes, this non-marital property will be declared to be exclusively yours and the income from the non-marital property will be exclusively yours. You will be money ahead, but if you are obligated to pay child support or maintenance, your income from non-marital sources will be considered part of the basis on which the obligations are based.
Also when one spouse has been making lavish expenditures (not in keeping with the cash flow of the couple), often the spouse not engaged in these expenditures will come out financially ahead–even shortly after the divorce.
If I am ordered to pay child support (and maintenance) will I have any other obligations to the family, such as also paying the mortgage etc.?
No. Your sole obligation after the divorce is generally to pay child support (and maintenance in appropriate cases). But out of those funds, and whatever other funds your spouse has, it is up to her to pay all the expenses for herself and the children. These are usual exceptions that fall under the umbrella of expenses for the children:
- Usually the non-residential parent is usually required to maintain health insurance for the children;
- Non-covered health care expenses are generally divided between the parents;
- If there are daycare expenses for the children, these are often allocated between the parents;
- Finally, certain extra-curricular expenses and are usually divided (either 50/50 or in some manner reflecting the incomes of the parents).
In addition, if your children go on to receive post-high school education (college or trade school), each parent will be required to contribute in accordance to their ability to contribute.