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When Is a Spouse Entitled to Maintenance (Alimony) in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on June 06,2019 in Illinois Divorce

St Charles Divorce Attorney

When a two-income couple divorces, each person may have no problem becoming self-sufficient immediately. However, if that is not the case, the higher-earning spouse may need to make maintenance payments, formerly known as alimony, to the other. Spouses are free to negotiate their own agreement regarding maintenance payments. If they cannot agree, the court must first decide whether a maintenance award is appropriate. If so, then the judge will determine the amount and duration of maintenance using statutory guidelines (750 ILCS 5/504).

Reasons One Spouse May Need Post-Divorce Financial Support

Marriage often changes how people think about their careers. In some families, one spouse takes on the role of being the primary manager of home and family needs, perhaps even homeschooling the children. That frees the other spouse to focus on building their career and generating income to support the family. In other families, one spouse works longer hours to support the other’s dreams of higher education, developing their own business, or working in a fulfilling but low-paying occupation. The longer a person remains unemployed, the harder it can be for them to re-enter the workforce. If you fall into any of these categories, you may need to negotiate for maintenance payments as part of your divorce settlement.

Factors Used to Determine Whether Maintenance Is Appropriate

In determining whether a spouse is entitled to receive maintenance, Illinois law directs the court to consider all relevant factors, including:

  1. Each spouse’s income, non-marital property, and share of marital property.

  2. Each spouse’s realistic present and future earning capacity.

  3. Each spouse’s age, health, occupational skills, and employability.

  4. The standard of living established during the marriage.

  5. The duration of the marriage.

  6. Whether the earning capacity of the person seeking maintenance has been impaired because they gave up education or employment opportunities due to the marriage.

  7. Whether the person seeking maintenance contributed to the education or career of the payor spouse.

  8. The time needed for the person seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate training and obtain employment that would enable the person to become self-sufficient.

  9. The effect of any parental responsibilities on the maintenance-seeker’s ability to maintain employment.

  10. The tax consequences for each spouse.

  11. Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Illinois Law on Amount and Duration of Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Illinois law specifies that the court may grant maintenance payments “as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct.” Maintenance may be paid from either the income or assets of the payor. See our page on maintenance for details on how the amount and duration of spousal support are calculated.

A St. Charles Divorce and Spousal Maintenance Attorney

If you are concerned about either paying or receiving spousal maintenance as part of your divorce settlement, be sure to select a St. Charles divorce lawyer who will listen to your concerns and knows how to safeguard your financial interests in a divorce. Call Weiler & Associates, Inc. at 630-331-9110.


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