Many years ago, a satiric columnist for now-defunct Premiere magazine wrote about leading male actors of the day. She went through a number of big names, but every so often, three words, in capital letters, would sneak in: DENNIS DENNIS DENNIS. She finally admitted that there was no getting past it: She was madly in love with Dennis Quaid.
Illinois has a lot to be grateful for in the area of family law. For example, for almost 20 years now, the state's spousal maintenance law has recognized that both wives and husbands make financial contributions to the marriage. Property division is handled more equitably than it had been in the past, and than it is in other states. And, notably, the judge cannot base a maintenance award on marital misconduct.
The Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently surveyed its membership -- attorneys around the country that deal with marriage and divorce -- about gender differences with spousal maintenance and child support. In our last couple of posts, we have been talking about the survey results as well as the conclusions drawn from the results: The survey may show that more women are paying spousal and child support to their ex-husbands now, but that does not necessarily mean that women are the economic equals of men.
We are continuing our discussion of the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recent survey as well as the organization's response to the results. The survey asked academy members about spousal maintenance -- it used to be called "alimony" -- and found that family law professionals nationwide had noticed an increase in the number of women paying both spousal support and child support.
The Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers occasionally polls its members about trends in divorce, legal separation, child custody, division of property and other things related to the dissolution of a marriage. The most recent survey asked about spousal maintenance, or alimony. It turns out that attorneys across the country have noticed an uptick in the number of women paying both spousal maintenance and child support.
Television sports analyst and former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Reports indicate he owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and, it seems, his ex-wife. When the couple divorced in 2007, Sapp agreed to pay $15,000 per month to support for his two children and another $45,000 per month in spousal maintenance. In February, his ex-wife filed court documents that stated Sapp owed her and their children more than $700,000.
Claiming that he is experiencing financial difficulties and serious illness, former Chicago Bulls star basketball player Dennis Rodman has filed papers in court stating that he is currently not able to meet his child support and spousal maintenance obligations. At the beginning of March, those unpaid obligations for child support for his 9 and 10 year old children reportedly totaled $808,935. The children are from the 51-year-old ex-athlete's third marriage.
After talking about annulment in our last post, we came across an unusual case involving an Illinois man and his Canadian wife. In divorce proceedings, the couple did not deny that they had never consummated the marriage. Usually, this would be grounds for an annulment, but that wasn't really an option -- because they had been married for 17 years.
A recent article about the changing attitudes toward permanent alimony highlighted one state legislature's brewing battle over doing away with it altogether. Alimony -- more commonly termed "spousal maintenance" now -- won't disappear, but the idea of permanent maintenance will. A handful of states have taken up the cause. Illinois law allows permanent maintenance, if the court determines the award is just.
Spousal support, also referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony, can be awarded to one spouse in a divorce in order to help that spouse to maintain the lifestyle that he or she had become accustomed to during the marriage. Many factors are typically taken into account when determining whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, how much should be paid.