Every divorce is different. There are varying degrees of complexity ranging from an uncontested divorce, where a couple was married briefly, with no children, and few assets to divorces that involve contested child custody or complex financial assets. Because every situation is unique, it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney to reach a favorable divorce settlement.
It is helpful to look at examples of divorce settlements to understand how marital property may be distributed, and whether spousal maintenance may be awarded:
Example #1: A divorcing couple has been married five years with no children, earn similar salaries, and have shared property and other assets. In this case, any marital assets and debt will likely be split 50|50. There will be no spousal maintenance because both have similar earnings and are in the same position financially as they were prior to marriage.
Example #2: Involves a married couple of 12 years with no children. Because of the longer duration of marriage, and the fact that one spouse earns substantially more than the other, spousal maintenance may be awarded and the division of property may favor the lesser earning spouse.
Example #3: Involves a married couple of 7 years with young children, where one stays home to raise the kids while the other works. Child support is awarded according to state guidelines, and the couple agrees to split other child rearing expenses such as daycare, tuition, and healthcare. Property division may favor the stay at home parent due to lower earnings and short term rehabilitative maintenance may be awarded until he or she can obtain the necessary training, education and experience to enter the workforce.
Example #4 is a couple that has been married over 20 years, where one spouse has forfeited a career to raise the family, advancing the other’s career over the span of two decades. Marital property will be divided equitably based on each party’s economic and non-economic contributions. This will include the division of retirement assets such as 401ks and IRAs. The lesser earning spouse will be likely awarded permanent spousal maintenance based on the length of the marriage and future earning capacity which can diminish with advanced age.
Example #5 is a divorce where one spouse has significant health problems translating into modest income and a diminished future earning capacity. Marital property division may favor the spouse who is struggling with health issues and spousal maintenance may be ordered if the other spouse has the ability to pay.
There are many issues to consider when reaching a divorce settlement. No two cases are exactly alike so it is important to work with an experience attorney to reach the most favorable agreement depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Contact the Libertyville law offices of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC for immediate assistance at 847-680-4970.