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When Will Alimony Be Awarded During an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

Wheaton spousal support attorneyAlimony refers to financial support that a spouse pays to a financially-dependent spouse after the couple’s divorce. These payments, which are referred to as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois law, are typically awarded when there is a major disparity in income between the spouses. Many spouses require financial support in the form of alimony because they gave up career advancements in favor of homemaking or child-rearing responsibilities. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to place both spouses in financial circumstances similar to what they enjoyed while they were married after they get divorced.

Alimony May Be Temporary, Permanent, or Rehabilitative

Divorce cases can take multiple months or even several years to complete. Some spouses request temporary alimony while the divorce is ongoing. Temporary alimony typically terminates when the divorce is finalized and the spouses become subject to the terms of the final divorce decree.

Maintenance awarded in the divorce decree may be ordered for a specific time period, or it may be indefinite.  Spousal maintenance is often intended to be rehabilitative in nature. These types of alimony payments give the recipient spouse time to secure the education, training, and/or employment he or she needs to be self-supporting. In a minority of cases, alimony is permanent and only terminates once the recipient remarries or cohabitates with a romantic partner, or either spouse passes away.

The Amount and Duration of Payments Is Usually Based on Statutory Formula

Illinois courts award alimony when a valid marital agreement entitles a spouse to alimony or when an examination of the spouses’ financial resources and life circumstances leads the court to determine that maintenance is appropriate. A couple’s prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may also specify whether maintenance will be paid by either spouse. Illinois courts consider the spouses’ incomes, assets, employment, earning capacity, health, and a number of other factors when deciding whether to award alimony.

The amount of maintenance that a spouse receives is typically based on Illinois statutory guidelines; however, courts have the authority to deviate from these guidelines in certain situations. The duration of spousal maintenance payments is usually based on the duration of the marriage. The longer that the couple was married, the longer the spousal maintenance obligation lasts. A spouse may petition the court to modify or terminate spousal maintenance if either spouse has experienced a “substantial change in circumstances” that necessitates the modification or termination.

Contact a DuPage County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

Spousal maintenance may be awarded when there is a significant difference in divorcing spouses’ financial means or when there is some reason that a spouse is not financially self-supporting. The skilled Naperville divorce attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C. have experience representing spousal maintenance recipients and payors. Our team can help with establishing, modifying, or enforcing a spousal maintenance order. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation today.


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