Formerly known as alimony, spousal maintenance is financial support that must be paid from one spouse to another following a divorce. The unique circumstances of each case determine which spouse is responsible for paying the maintenance and how much and for how long payments must be made.
Spousal maintenance can be one of the most complex and high-conflict parts of a divorce. The paying spouse often feels as though they are being taken advantage of, and the receiving spouse often feels as though the time and effort they put into the marriage are not sufficiently compensated.
Regardless of whether you are the paying or receiving spouse, spousal maintenance payments can be subject to change based on a change in your circumstances. In this article, we will address the circumstances in which payments may be modified or terminated, as well as how you can request a modification.
When Can Spousal Maintenance Be Changed in Illinois?
Spousal maintenance payments can only be changed under specific circumstances. A divorce order that decrees payments may seem unfair to either party, but this is not sufficient grounds for modification. Generally, former spouses may request that payments be changed if one of the following circumstances is met:
The receiving party remarries or begins cohabitating with a new partner
The paying or receiving party dies, unless an arrangement has been made concerning life insurance benefits given as spousal maintenance to the receiving party
There is a substantial change in either party’s income or employment
A disability or illness impairs the paying party’s ability to earn an income
The receiving party has become financially self-supporting
How is Spousal Maintenance Changed in Illinois?
Individuals who want to change their spousal maintenance orders must file a motion and schedule a court hearing with the clerk of court. The motion must lay out the grounds for modifying or terminating maintenance payments.
At the court hearing, a judge will consider evidence, hear both parties’ arguments, and then make a decision as to whether payments will be modified. The paying party should not modify or stop making payments on their own before receiving a new order from a judge.
Contact a Cook County Spousal Maintenance Attorney
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