Changes to Temporary Support During Divorce Proceedings
In some marriages, one spouse is primarily dependent on the other for monetary support. This can lead to troubling consequences in the event that a couple decides to pursue a divorce. However, in such circumstances, dependent spouses can seek temporary support to ensure that they will be able to financially support themselves or their children during the period of time in which divorce proceedings are pending — a process that could take months or even years. Revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which went into effect January 1, changed some of the procedural requirements for obtaining such temporary support.
In order to receive an order of temporary support, a party must submit a petition and provide an affidavit containing the factual basis for the relief requested. The financial affidavit must be supported at the time of its submission by documentary evidence including:
- Income tax returns;
- Pay stubs; and
- Banking statements.
The new law also provides both parties the opportunity to challenge any disparity between the affidavit and the supporting documentation by requesting a hearing.
Factors Contributing to Award of Temporary Support
Although a Judge will issue a ruling based primarily on the financial documents submitted by the parties, he or she may also take into consideration the following factors:
- The income and property of each spouse, including any marital property that is solely within control of one party;
- Each spouse’s specific needs;
- The earning capacity of each spouse;
- Any impairment to a spouse’s earning capacity, including age, as well as physical and emotional health;
- The standard of living to which the spouses were accustomed during the marriage;
- The complexity of the issues, including: the allocation of parental responsibility, valuation or division of assets, tax planning, as well as the need for an investigation or expert opinion;
- The spouses’ access to relevant information;
- The amount expected to be paid to the attorneys; and
- Any other factor that the Court finds to be just and equitable.
Hearings held to establish an award of temporary support will now be considered non-evidentiary. Therefore, the hearings will be held quickly and will be decided with minimal argument from either party.
Penalties for Reckless Filing
If a Court finds that one of the spouses intentionally or recklessly filed an inaccurate financial affidavit, then a Judge can impose significant penalties on that spouse, including the mandatory payment of the other spouse’s attorney’s fees.
If you are considering a divorce, but are concerned about your ability to support yourself or your children during the proceedings, you may be eligible to receive temporary spousal or child support. Please call skilled Palatine family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson at 847.873.6741 for a free consultation.