In Illinois, alimony is referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Maintenance payments relieve some of the financial burden created by divorce. The money may be used for housing, everyday expenses, or educational costs for a spouse who requires additional training or education to become financially self-sufficient after a divorce.
If you earn significantly less income than your spouse, you may wonder if you will be able to get alimony in your divorce. You may have been out of the workforce because you were a stay-at-home parent, homemaker, or simply relied on your spouse to provide the financial support you needed.
This blog will explain the main legal avenues through which a spouse can receive spousal maintenance, how spousal maintenance awards are calculated, and what the next steps are for anybody who wishes to pursue spousal maintenance during their Illinois divorce.
Who Can Receive Spousal Maintenance?
Traditionally, alimony was given to wives by their husbands. However, times have changed, and now spousal maintenance is awarded to both men and women. There are three main ways that a spouse may receive maintenance payments:
Prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement – marital agreements often include information about a spouse’s entitlement to alimony during the divorce proceedings or after the divorce is finalized. Unless the agreement is unconscionable or there has been a major change in circumstances, Illinois courts generally uphold any previous agreements regarding spousal maintenance.
Agreement between the spouses – Divorcing spouses may be able to negotiate a spousal maintenance arrangement. Reaching an agreement outside of court is often the best way to reduce litigation expenses and stress during the divorce process. If you are interested in pursuing spousal maintenance, reach out to an experienced divorce lawyer who can represent you during spousal maintenance negotiations and advocate on your behalf.
Court award – Divorcing spouses also have the option of petitioning the court for a spousal maintenance award. Illinois courts do not grant spousal maintenance in every case, only when there is a genuine need for this financial support. The court will analyze your financial situation, employability, your spouse’s financial circumstances, and several other factors and then make a determination.
How Much Support Can I Receive?
If you and your spouse can reach an agreement about the amount, duration, and type of spousal maintenance you will receive, the court will most likely approve any decision you make. Your agreement will become a legally binding spousal maintenance order.
If the court determines spousal maintenance terms, the amount you receive will be based on a statutory formula. The formula considers both spouses’ net incomes and uses the difference between the incomes to determine a reasonable spousal maintenance award.
Spousal maintenance is usually temporary. The number of payments you can receive is primarily based on the length of your marriage. Spouses who were married for a long period of time are generally entitled to payments longer than spouses who were only married for a short period of time.
Contact our DuPage County Alimony Lawyer
If you have a much lower income than your spouse, you may be able to get spousal maintenance or alimony. Our skilled Wheaton divorce attorneys can help you negotiate an agreement or petition the court for alimony. Call 630-364-4046 for a free initial consultation.