Asking for Temporary Support While a Divorce is Pending
Regardless of whether the decision to divorce is mutual, at least one spouse will typically deal with substantial financial fallout. While some couples make enough money individually to weather the repercussions of divorce with minimal adjustment, in many households one spouse makes substantially more than the other. This disparity means that the lesser-earning spouse is forced to scramble for alternative ways to obtain money.
Borrowing from family and friends or selling possessions are methods commonly used to make up the shortfall. While this situation is hardly sustainable in the long-term, the situation should still be addressed in the short-term to prevent irreparable financial loss. Illinois allows parties with pending divorces to request temporary support until the dissolution is finalized and property division and spousal/child support is established on a more permanent basis.
Ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, former Ald. Sandi Jackson, are currently facing this situation. Sandi Jackson alleges Jackson Jr. is not contributing to household expenses while their divorce is pending, leaving her to ask friends for money and selling belongings to make ends meet. Given how contentious the issue of support is in divorce, understanding when support may be temporarily awarded is important.
Requesting Temporary Support
The law on requesting temporary support underwent a notable revision last year in order to streamline and standardize the process throughout the state. These changes are most clearly seen in how the financial information of each party must be collected and shared. As noted above, either party in an open divorce case is able to file a petition requesting temporary support, along with supporting documentation showing an actual need.
The state now has one uniform financial affidavit, which must be attached to the petition, and which was created as part of the effort to standardize this process. The form also helps parties more easily understand what information is necessary to substantiate the request. Supplemental documentation showing current income and financial resources is part of completing the affidavit, and usually comes in the form of pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements and the like.
Unlike most documents filed in Court cases, the affidavit and supporting documents are not part of the public record, and are only accessible to the Court, the parties and their attorneys, and anyone else the Court grants specific access.
Information Accuracy and the Court's Decision
Another important change in the law is the ability of a party to request the Court to examine disparities between an affidavit and supporting documentation submitted by the opposition. If the Court finds a party intentionally or recklessly provided false or misleading information in the financial affidavit, the Court is directed to impose sanctions, including the payment of the opposing party's costs and attorney's fees.
Finally, the procedure to make a decision on these petitions is now much briefer and more direct. Judges now make their determinations based on the financial information submitted by each party and the allocation of parenting time, with minimal input from the attorneys. However, a more involved hearing may be requested and permitted if there is sufficient cause.
Consult a Divorce Attorney
Requests for spousal support can quickly devolve into complicated and protracted disputes, but working with an experienced Palatine divorce attorney makes it more likely an acceptable resolution will be reached in less time. The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. will make sure you fully understand the relevant legal issues for awards for spousal support, and will fight to protect your interests. If you live in northwest Chicagoland, contact the office today for a free initial consultation. Call 847.873.6741.