As you and your ex-spouse navigate divorce proceedings, you are likely to cross paths with matters of alimony. Discussing spousal support can be contentious and difficult, but our experienced attorneys will be at your side, acting as your calm and clear-minded advocates. To learn more, please call our Libertyville and Waukegan alimony lawyers at 847-599-9101.
What is Alimony?
Alimony or spousal support is called spousal maintenance in Illinois. Maintenance, like child custody, can be one of the most contentious and emotional aspects of divorce. Maintenance means one spouse pays another spouse money in a certain amount, for a certain time. Payments are decided based on statutory guidelines as well as the judge's discretion.
These payments may be indefinite, temporary for the duration of the divorce, or for a specific amount of time to allow the ex-spouse to gain employment.
Maintenance may be ordered when one of the ex-spouses is not able to support themselves financially, for various reasons. Perhaps that spouse has been unable to work or unable to complete higher education because of childcare duties. There are many other reasons as well. Maintenance may be ordered for men as well as for women; the law does not differ by gender. It's also important to note that maintenance is not a part of every divorce; it does not have to be ordered.
To decide if alimony should be paid, the judge may consider the following factors:
- Combined income while you were married
- Length of marriage in years
- Properties owned
- Each spouse's earning capacity
- Physical limitations
- Mental conditions that would affect employability
- Lifestyle during the marriage
- Each spouse's contributions to childcare and household duties during the marriage
- Agreements made between the ex-spouses during or prior to marriage
- Financial and time requirements for an ex-spouse to become employed
If the judge decides one spouse should receive support, the next step is to determine how much and for how long. Under Illinois law, if your combined income in your marriage is at or below a certain threshold, then the judge must follow statutory guidelines and formulas for determining the amount and duration of maintenance. If your combined income exceeds the threshold, the judge is allowed to use their own discretion in calculating support.
If your marriage lasted 20 years or more, the judge can decide whether the maintenance should last the same number of years the marriage did, or if the maintenance should last indefinitely (which was formerly called permanent maintenance). Indefinite support payments continue until a qualifying event ends the alimony. Events include remarriage, retirement, death and certain other things.
As experienced divorce lawyers, we will help you negotiate alimony. Typically it is in the interest of both parties to agree to spousal maintenance terms as part of their negotiated settlement agreement. If consensus cannot be reached, then the judge will determine support. Rely on our attorneys to fight for what is in your best interest every step of the way.
Call Now to Learn More
Our experienced attorneys in Waukegan and Libertyville, Illinois, know the tumult and stress caused by ending a marriage. Spousal maintenance is certainly a part of many divorces, and we can help resolve the matter with your best interests at heart. To arrange a consultation, please call our law firm at 847-599-9101.