For some, the financial implications of a divorce may be more harmful than the end of their relationship. It can take months, or even years, for couples to make the decision to file for divorce and their romantic relationship has often deteriorated long before they have even come to this realization. Some spouses may stay together simply because of their financial reliance on each other. In order to prevent people from remaining in an unhappy marriage due to their inability to live financially independent, Illinois courts will evaluate the individuals’ financial situation during the divorce process and determine whether or not financial assistance is needed for either party. It can be a shock to transition from living off of a combined income to barely scraping by on a single income, but often the spouse with the lower income is likely eligible to receive financial assistance, known as spousal maintenance, or spousal support, or alimony, from his or her former spouse.
The Designation of Support
Since each family’s financial situation varies, there are three different types of spousal maintenance from which the court can choose. The type of support that they order is determined by a number of factors, including the receiving party’s employment status, the length of the marriage, and each party’s marital relationship moving forward. Spousal support arrangements can be modified at any time, the most common modification reason being when the receiving party remarries. The following are the three types of spousal maintenance awarded by the Illinois court system:
Fixed-Term Maintenance: Sometimes the court will set a time limit on the support payments, specifying the amount of time that one spouse will owe the other spouse financial assistance in their divorce agreement. During the divorce proceedings, the court will set a termination date for the payments, and the paying party will no longer owe the receiving party any money after that date.
Indefinite Maintenance: For those who have been married for a long period of time, or if there is an extreme difference in income between the two spouses, the court may grant spousal maintenance to be paid indefinitely. This means there is no end date for the payments unless either party brings the divorce agreement back to court to modify or terminate the spousal support requirements. Modifications will need to be requested by one or both of the parties and the request must be approved by the court.
Reviewable Maintenance: This type of maintenance is the happy medium between the two options stated above. This option is often preferred by both parties so that they can re-evaluate each other’s financial needs and any financial changes that may have occurred. In those divorce cases where reviewable maintenance is ordered, the court will set a definite period of time for the current arrangement, and after this time period ends, both parties will reevalute the agreement. The court will then review the existing order and decide how things will continue moving forward. This could mean changing the arrangement to a fixed-term agreement, or possibly extending the maintenance indefinitely, or permanently terminating the financial payments moving forward.
Contact an Oak Park Spousal Support Lawyer
A discussion between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse regarding the financial needs of each of you when you are getting a divorce can be difficult and uncomfortable. For example, some divorcing spouses may want to be completely independent of their ex-spouse, not wanting spousal support at all, while others may discover that their former partner has a much higher income than they were told. For over 32 years, the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. has helped a large number of individuals fight for the spousal support they need, and similarly has argued against unfair alimony payments that a court may have ordered. Whether you are creating a divorce agreement or reconsidering the terms of your existing agreement, Mr. Machroli has the proven skills to help guide you through the legal proceedings and to advise you on what you should request. For help with your spousal support determinations, contact our experienced Hillside, IL divorce attorney today at 708-449-7404 to schedule your free consultation.