If you are getting divorced, you may understandably have concerns about the divorce’s impact on your finances. Illinois law allows courts to award spousal maintenance, also referred to as alimony or spousal support, to help offset the negative financial impact of a divorce. However, spousal maintenance is only available in certain circumstances. Many people misunderstand how and when maintenance is available in an Illinois divorce. Read on to learn the answers to the most frequently asked questions about spousal maintenance.
How Can You Get Alimony?
Alimony or spousal maintenance is not automatically awarded to a spouse in Illinois. There are three main ways that you may receive spousal maintenance:
Mutual agreement between the spouses – You and your spouse may be able to agree to spousal maintenance terms through your respective attorneys or during the mediation process.
Prenuptial or postnuptial agreement – If you have signed a prenuptial agreement or another type of valid marital agreement that entitles you to maintenance, the court will likely uphold this agreement.
Petitioning the court for maintenance – You can petition the court for spousal maintenance during your divorce. The court will consider the length of the marriage, standard of living during the marriage, each party’s financial needs and resources, and other factors when deciding whether to award maintenance.
How Much Maintenance Can a Spouse Receive?
The amount of spousal maintenance or alimony that a spouse can receive through the court is usually determined by a statutory formula. Both spouses’ incomes are used to determine a reasonable spousal maintenance award. The spousal maintenance calculation method used by Illinois courts is intended to provide for the recipient’s needs without putting an unreasonable burden on the paying spouse. Courts sometimes deviate from the statutory formula when determining maintenance.
How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last?
Spousal maintenance is usually ordered for a finite period. Often, maintenance payments provide a spouse with financial assistance while he or she gains the education or skills needed to be financially independent. If a marriage lasted 20 years or more, the court may award permanent spousal maintenance, but this is rare. Spousal maintenance terminates when the recipient gets remarried.
Can Men Receive Spousal Maintenance?
Traditionally, wives received spousal maintenance from their husbands. However, many women are now the breadwinners in their families. Therefore, sometimes it is the husband who receives spousal maintenance. Illinois law treats women and men the same when it comes to spousal maintenance.
Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer
If you are getting divorced and you have questions about spousal maintenance, contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer from Goostree Law Group for help. Call our office at 630-364-4046 today for a free consultation.