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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I have been divorced for 3 and a half years now. 8 months before

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I have been divorced for 3 and a half years now. 8 months before my separation, my ex-wife left her job claiming psychological disability and received permanent disability from the state of illinois 6 months before our divorce was finalized. She worked for the state of illinois as a caseworker-dept. of human services for 16 years before she filed for the disability, and had a psychologist (who previously ALSO worked for the state of Illinois, and was wronged, stating she has a vendetta with them) sign off for her with the disability, because she wanted to get back at them, and this was one way she was able to do that. At any rate, I have wound up paying her $900 a month, and have NO CHILDREN together either. We were married for 14 years. The divorce decree basically says that the payments will continue indefinitely until I take the matter into court to try and get a modification made, if there is a change in financial matters and/or income from either parties. When the divorce went through, and the decree went into place, there was a mortgage in question. I filed bankruptcy previously before the divorce took place, and absolved me of my part of the mortgage, but she still owned hers. She stopped paying the mortgage and let it go to foreclosure, she stopped paying her credit card bills as well. This amounted to about $1800 a month for her. I went back into court with her for a modification since she stopped paying her bills, but still collected the same amount of money from me. Needless to say the judge did absolutely nothing, and continued to order me to pay the same amount. I let it all go for 2 more years, and am considering going to court to try again, but am afraid I may waste ANOTHER $5000 for nothing, especially since we have the same judge still. Another attorney said that since I am working but she is not able, along with the fact that if they lower my payments per month to her, then the STATE OF ILLINOIS will have to make up the difference in pay to her (since the judge WORKS for the state of illinois...the state is the judges employer and that would be like making his employer shell out more money if he awarded a reduction in my pay to her). the other attorney thinks I should just leave it alone and continue to pay for the rest of my (or hers) life, since it may backfire and they will award her even more. I thought that our time married has something to do with the amount of time I have to continue to pay her? What do you think about this situation? Would it be worth pursuing this in court again...or should I let sleeping dogs lie? I don't know the statutes in Illinois, and am wondering if there's anything in the law that may help me! I would greatly appreciate any help I can get.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Judges do have discretion to limit alimony to a specific time period, based on the duration of the marriage. However, they unfortunately also have the ability to order indefinite alimony, to continue until the wife dies or remarries. Look at your divorce decree - if the judge ordered you to pay indefinitely because she is disabled, the payments unfortunately will continue. If you go back to modify the payments before she has an income, and your income has increased, the judge actually could increase your monthly payments, which will not help you.

There has been a trend in the past few years that seriously disfavors permanent alimony (since it started when women didn't work outside the home). It's possible that changes in the law may eventually allow you to get this order changed or reduced. But, until then, unfortunately, you will have to pay until she becomes self-supporting, dies or remarries, because that's what the judge ordered.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
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