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Considerations for Spousal Maintenance

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

DuPage County divorce lawyerWhen you are faced with the prospect of divorce, you are likely to have many questions about the process and how your life will be different in the future. For many individuals, financial questions are often among the most pressing concerns, especially for those who earn substantially more than their partners. If this describes your situation, you may be wondering if you will be required to pay alimony, known as maintenance in Illinois law, to your spouse following your divorce.

Nothing Is Guaranteed

It is common for the average person to assume that a higher-earning spouse is automatically obligated to make support payments to his or her former spouse when their marriage comes to an end. Such is generally the case for child support, but not so for maintenance. The only situation in which maintenance would be presumed is if the spouses agreed in advance in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Otherwise, the details of each case must be carefully reviewed before a determination for a spouse’s need will be made.

If, upon detailed analysis of your situation, you and your spouse reach a reasonable agreement regarding maintenance in your divorce proceedings, the court will include your agreement in the final divorce judgment. If your spouse is requesting support and you cannot reach agreement on your own, the court must decide if an award is needed. In doing so, the court will consider a number of factors set forth by Illinois law, including:

  • Your income and property and that of your spouse, including what you will receive in the divorce;
  • Your needs and your spouse’s needs;
  • The current and future earning ability of you and your spouse;
  • The effect of household or family duties on your spouse’s earning capacity and employability;
  • Your spouse’s contributions to your career development and your earning capacity;
  • The expected time and reasonability of your spouse becoming financially independent;
  • Arrangements being made for your children;
  • How long you were married;
  • The standard of living you established during your marriage;
  • The age, health, and overall well-being of you and your spouse; and
  • Any other factor that the court deems relevant.

Making a Decision

With so many considerations to take into account, it is clear that the decisions regarding maintenance are based on much more than just the disparate incomes of the spouses. It is, however, a major factor, so if you make significantly more than your spouse, you should prepare for the possibility of paying spousal support.

If you are approaching a divorce, you need guidance from an experienced family law attorney in Naperville. Call Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240 for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team today.


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