Many people think that alimony is a thing of the past and something that was awarded in divorce cases when one spouse, typically the wife, stayed home to take care of the kids. Alimony is not mentioned in Illinois law, but that does not mean that spousal payments are a thing of the past.
Illinois law refers to alimony as ‘spousal maintenance’ and it is still very much a prevalent part of divorce in the state today. Generally speaking, judges will award spousal maintenance for no longer than three years. If you are about to get a divorce, it is important to know the purpose of spousal maintenance, and whether or not a judge will make you pay it.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal maintenance payments are paid either on a regular basis or as a lump sum. The purpose of spousal maintenance lies in its name. It is intended to support a dependent spouse after divorce and help them maintain their lifestyle until they can support themselves. Generally speaking, the dependent spouse is the person that made less money during a marriage than their spouse.
In the past, it is true that spousal maintenance was usually paid by the husband to the wife. Today though, the role of the breadwinner in the home is changing and so, women are ordered to pay spousal maintenance as well as men. The spouse that is ordered to pay spousal maintenance is the one that made the most money during the marriage. Spousal maintenance is often temporary, but in some cases, it can be permanent. It depends on what a judge orders, or what the couple agrees to.
Will You Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance?
If your spouse earned less than you during the marriage or stayed home to raise children and maintain the home while you went to work, you will likely have to pay spousal maintenance. However, the amount you will have to pay and the duration of the payments will depend on a number of factors. These include:
- The length of the marriage: Generally speaking, the longer you were married, the more you will have to pay in spousal maintenance. Also, the longer you were married, the longer the spousal maintenance payments will be ordered.
- Your financial situation: A judge will consider the whole situation when determining whether or not to award spousal maintenance. For example, if the spouse that would receive maintenance just received a very large inheritance, a judge will consider that and may not order maintenance even though they would have otherwise.
- Earning capacity: A judge will also consider the earning capacity of each spouse. For example, if one spouse has stayed home for 20 years, it is going to be more difficult for them to enter the workforce. A judge will consider that fact when awarding maintenance.
The above are just three factors a judge will consider when awarding maintenance, although they are some of the main factors. A family lawyer can advise on your situation and advise on whether maintenance will be ordered or not.
Our Illinois Family Lawyers Can Advise on Spousal Maintenance
The question of whether you will have to pay spousal maintenance is a difficult one to answer. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our knowledgeable Hinsdale family lawyers can advise on the factors considered, and what a judge may order in your case. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.