Wheaton Family Law AttorneyDivorce cases can be complex, especially when it comes to addressing the financial aspects of ending a marriage. In cases where a spouse does not work outside the home, they may be concerned about how they will support themselves and address various financial issues after their divorce. However, it is important to recognize that even if a spouse does not currently earn an income, their contributions to their marriage as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent should be recognized, and they should be able to maintain financial stability, regardless of their marital status. In these situations, a couple will need to determine whether spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, will be a factor that will need to be addressed in their divorce.

The Role of Spousal Support in Illinois Divorce Cases

In some marriages, one spouse may have chosen to forego a career or reduce their work hours so that they could focus on household responsibilities or caring for the couple’s children. This decision often results in an economic imbalance between the spouses. The homemaker spouse may rely on the income earned by the other spouse to cover the family’s expenses. If a homemaker has been out of the workforce for an extended period, they may be concerned about their ability to meet their own financial needs if they choose to begin working again.

Spousal support aims to address this economic disparity by requiring the spouse who earns the majority of the family’s income to provide financial assistance to their former partner. This can help ensure that both parties can maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce. Depending on the circumstances of a couple’s case, the length of their marriage, and other factors, spousal maintenance may be paid for a certain period of time. This can provide a homemaker with the resources they need, while also allowing them to take steps to begin working again so that they will be able to support themselves in the future.

Factors Considered by Illinois Courts When Addressing Spousal Maintenance

In Illinois, a family court judge may look at a variety of issues when determining whether to award spousal support. The factors a judge may consider include:

  • The income earned by each party

  • The property awarded to each party in the divorce and other assets or financial resources available to each spouse

  • The needs of each party

  • The realistic earning capacity of each party based on their respective levels of education and previous employment history

  • The effects that family and household responsibilities have had on the potential earning capacity of the homemaker spouse

  • The time needed for the homemaker spouse to acquire education, training, and employment so that they will be able to support themselves

  • The duration of the couple’s marriage

  • The standard of living established during the marriage

While judges have discretion when deciding whether spousal support will be appropriate, they will usually follow statutory guidelines when determining the amount that should be paid and the amount of time that payments will last. The amount of spousal maintenance payments is calculated by taking the income earned by both parties into account, and the duration of the payments will be a certain percentage of the amount of time the couple was married.

Potential Challenges in Obtaining Spousal Support

While spousal support can be crucial in providing for the needs of a homemaker spouse post-divorce, certain challenges may arise when addressing this issue, including:

  • Lack of documented work history – Since a homemaker spouse may have limited employment history, or they may not have worked for several years because they have focused on family duties, determining their income-earning capacity may be challenging.

  • Time needed to become self-supporting – While spousal maintenance may be able to provide for a spouse’s needs in the months and years following their divorce, they may be unsure about what steps they can take to ensure that they will be able to support themselves in the future. A homemaker spouse will need to make sure they will have the resources to pursue education or training as necessary to increase their income-earning capacity and eventually pursue employment.

  • Disagreements between spouses – As spouses work to negotiate a divorce settlement, the issue of spousal support may be a source of disagreement that can lead to contentious disputes. A homemaker will want to ensure that they can receive the necessary support, while the other spouse may be concerned about their ability to meet their own needs while paying alimony. Spouses may need to use mediation or other methods to discuss the issues in their case and reach agreements about spousal support and other terms of their divorce settlement.

Contact Our Wheaton Spousal Maintenance Attorneys

If you are a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, and you are wondering about your eligibility for spousal support in your divorce, it is crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney. At [[title]], our DuPage County spousal support lawyers can assess your unique circumstances to ensure that financial issues will be addressed correctly in your case. We will guide you through the legal process of divorce and make sure your rights and interests are protected. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at [[phone]]. 




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