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Do Stay-at-Home Parents Get Spousal Maintenance in Divorce?

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

Naperville Family Law Firm

If you were a stay-at-home mom or dad during your marriage, and your spouse was the primary source of family income, divorce can present a unique set of challenges. Stay-at-home parents frequently forego education and career opportunities for years and even decades so they can raise children and take care of daily household duties. After a divorce, these parents find themselves re-entering the job market, many with little-to-no work experience and substantial gaps in employment.

Although spousal maintenance (formerly called spousal support or alimony in Illinois) is an option, is it something a divorced stay-at-home parent can expect?

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Maintenance is a monthly payment made by the higher-earning spouse to the other. It is intended to let both spouses maintain a similar standard of living during the adjustment period following divorce, and to reduce potential financial strain on the lesser-earning spouse. In short, one spouse should not live a wealthy lifestyle while the other is left destitute. Judges typically award spousal maintenance payments for a limited time, which allows a stay-at-home parent to find gainful employment.

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated?

Each state has a separate set of laws governing the issuance of spousal support. Rather than a blanket statement that approves or denies eligibility, Illinois judges carefully consider a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Property ownership
  • Income
  • Basic needs
  • Realistic earning capacities
  • Any impairment of employment and career opportunities due to spouse staying at home
  • Time required to obtain career training or education to achieve gainful employment
  • Overall length of the marriage
  • Standard of living
  • Tax consequences from property division or support payments
  • A contribution of one party to advance the career or education of the other
  • Prenup or post-nuptial agreements
  • Any other factor a judge sees fit

Ask a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Although your friends and relatives mean well when they offer advice, you should understand that each marriage (and each divorce) is unique. What works for one situation will not always work for another. Additionally, laws surrounding divorce and maintenance continually change. At Pesce Law Group, P.C., it is our job to remain educated on current and upcoming legal changes and how they can influence your case. Our Naperville divorce attorneys pride themselves on their hard-earned reputation for putting families first and aggressively defending their interests. Let us earn your trust by offering a free, no-obligation consultation so you can find out how we can help. Call us today at 630-352-2240.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc452

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