Contrary to popular belief, spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony) is not mandatory in an Illinois divorce. Rather, the court decides if it is appropriate for one spouse to receive financial support after the divorce. Some spouses can reduce their spousal support obligations or avoid paying alimony entirely by striking a deal with their soon-to-be ex or requesting the court for an adjustment. We discuss these strategies in detail below.
Prenuptial Agreements Can Preempt Spousal Support Payments
Prenuptial agreements can save you from paying spousal support. You can sign a premarital agreement stipulating whether you will pay spousal maintenance if the marriage does not work in the future. In most cases, Illinois courts will acknowledge provisions about spousal support mentioned in an agreement. It will, however, verify that the prenuptial agreement complied with legal regulations and was signed by both partners voluntarily.
Short-Term Marriages Make It Easier to Avoid Spousal Support
In Illinois, spousal maintenance provisions are calculated in part considering the duration of the marriage. The longer a marriage lasts, the more likely the court will ask the spouse with higher income to support their partner financially after the divorce.
Therefore, if you have been married for less than five years, you can argue that your partner does not need spousal maintenance. You may need to prove that your spouse was not dependent on you financially during the marriage and has sufficient income or savings to live independently after the divorce.
Sign a Waiver to Avoid Spousal Maintenance in Illinois
An uncontested divorce, where both parties agree to end their marriage without disputes, can allow you to avoid spousal support if your partner consents to sign a waiver. You can ask your attorney to draft a waiver freeing you from your financial obligations to pay spousal maintenance after divorce.
This usually happens when both parties are financially stable and agree to divorce amicably. Sometimes your soon-to-be-ex may agree to reduce or terminate spousal support payment if you provide them with a valuable marital asset in exchange. A court will accept a waiver as long as it is signed voluntarily by both parties and complies with state laws.
File a Motion to Modify or Terminate Maintenance
Another way to modify maintenance awards is to file a motion requesting the court to make adjustments by arguing that the original order does not apply to your current circumstance. This can happen when:
Employment loss or a decrease in income prevents you from paying spousal support
Your former partner has become financially stable through employment
Your former spouse gets remarried or begin cohabitating with a new partner
Contact a Hinsdale, IL Spousal Maintenance Attorney
Divorce laws in Illinois are complex, requiring a sound understanding of the legal system and its implications for your case. If you have any questions or concerns about spousal support, contact our Hinsdale, IL spousal maintenance lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio by dialing 630-920-8855. Our lawyers will provide personalized advice to help you negotiate the terms of your spousal maintenance.