Divorce can have major financial repercussions for both spouses. When divorce places a significant financial burden on a spouse, that spouse may be entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance as it is called in Illinois. However, spousal maintenance is only awarded in certain circumstances. Whether you are the family’s breadwinner or the lesser-earning spouse, it is important to know how spousal support may impact your divorce.
Entitlement to Spousal Maintenance
There are three main avenues through which spouses may receive spousal maintenance in Illinois. The first is a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse signed a marital agreement entitling one spouse to maintenance, the court will likely uphold the agreement.
Spouses may also agree on a spousal maintenance arrangement. Collaborative law or divorce mediation may help the spouses negotiate the exact terms of the spousal maintenance agreement. Alternatively, the spouses may negotiate maintenance through their attorneys.
Lastly, a spouse may petition the court and request spousal maintenance. Courts have discretion when it comes to spousal maintenance in Illinois. The court will consider the length of the marriage, and the standard of living the spouses enjoyed while married. Each spouse’s income and employability, financial resources, health, and several other factors will influence the court’s decision. The court will also consider any impairment to the earning capacity of the spouse seeking compensation. For example, many parents sacrifice their career ambitions to stay home with their children. Parents in this situation may be entitled to financial support through spousal maintenance.
Unlike in other states, adultery, abuse, or other marital misconduct do not influence spousal maintenance decisions in Illinois.
Amount and Duration of Alimony
If the court determines spousal maintenance is warranted, the amount is typically based on statutory guidelines. However, courts may deviate from the formula in some circumstances. The duration of maintenance is usually based on the duration of the marriage. The longer the couple was married, the longer a spouse may receive maintenance based upon the statutory guidelines.
If a party who receives spousal maintenance gets remarried, their entitlement to maintenance terminates. The paying party can also petition the court to terminate his or her maintenance obligation if the recipient spouse is cohabitating with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer
Spousal maintenance concerns during divorce can be complicated. For help, contact a DuPage County spousal maintenance attorney from MKFM Law. Our highly-regarded divorce lawyers can help you navigate any and all divorce concerns you encounter, including property division, alimony, child custody, child support, and more.
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