The end of a marriage not only brings dramatic personal changes but also considerable financial consequences. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder how spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, is handled in Illinois. Maintenance payments can be a significant expense for the payor spouse and a significant source of financial support for the recipient spouse. Disputes about the terms of spousal maintenance can be contentious. That is why it is essential that you seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney in order to understand how this type of support is calculated and your rights regarding these benefits.

When Is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?

If spouses had previously signed a marital agreement such as a prenup that contains directions regarding spousal maintenance, the court will typically uphold these directions. However, there are many issues that may cause a prenuptial agreement to be declared invalid, such as if it was signed under coercion or it contained fraudulent information about assets.

If spouses do not already have a valid marital agreement establishing spousal maintenance, the court will consider several factors in order to determine whether or not maintenance is appropriate. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • The spouses’ income, assets, and needs

  • The duration of the marriage and standard of living established during the marriage

  • Any impairment to either spouse’s current or future earning capacity

  • Contributions a spouse made to the advancement of the other spouse’s education or career

  • How long it will take for the recipient party to become self-supporting

If the court decides to award maintenance, statutory formulas are typically used to determine the value and number of payments. Under the current Illinois law, the amount of spousal maintenance a spouse must pay is calculated by subtracting 25 percent of the recipient’s net income from 33.33 percent of the payor spouse’s net income. However, the court has the authority to deviate from the statutory formulas if needed, depending on the circumstances of each case. In addition, the amount of spousal support cannot cause one spouse to earn more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income. 

How Long Do Maintenance Payments Last?

Maintenance may be rehabilitative in nature and only intended to last until the recipient spouse has time to gain the skills or education needed to become financially independent. In other circumstances, long-term or indefinite maintenance is awarded. The duration of maintenance payments is typically based on the length of the marriage. Spousal maintenance ends when the recipient spouse passes away or gets remarried. Spousal support may also be eligible for termination if the recipient spouse cohabitates with another person in a “marriage-like relationship.”

Contact a Hinsdale Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

In a divorce, disagreements about spousal maintenance can quickly escalate and become complicated. If you are thinking about ending your marriage and you have reason to believe that spousal maintenance will be a disputed issue, contact the accomplished law firm of Botti Marinaccio, LTD. to receive the professional legal assistance you need. We will fight to protect your rights so you can move on with your life. Call our office at 630-575-8585 today and schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled Cook County divorce attorney from our firm.



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