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Alimony, known as spousal maintenance in Illinois, can be avoided, but it will take a little bit of pre-planning and forethought to pull it off. Spousal maintenance is never guaranteed in a divorce but can become an issue if one spouse makes substantially more money than the other. If you are wondering whether or not you will have to pay spousal maintenance, consult an experienced divorce lawyer to assess your marital situation.
The court will look at many factors when determining how much and for how long spousal maintenance will be necessary. The factors a judge will consider include:
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means no grounds are necessary to file for divorce. That being said, a judge could consider any misconduct during the marriage when considering things like spousal maintenance or the allocation of parental responsibilities. A history of domestic violence or adultery on the part of one spouse could, at the judge’s discretion, see assets shift toward the other spouse in compensation.
Spousal maintenance can be waived through divorce settlement negotiation if the spouse agrees. This can be done in writing to completely disregard spousal maintenance as a whole, or an agreement can be struck regarding the division of marital estate. No matter how you choose to do it, there are ways of avoiding spousal maintenance payments. However, if there has been no waiver and you make 50 percent more income than your spouse, you can expect to pay some sort of court-ordered spousal maintenance.
One of the best ways to avoid spousal maintenance is to have it set up in a premarital agreement. You can outline all kinds of financial matters in a premarital agreement, which includes spousal support.
Another way to prevent spousal maintenance is to have a short-term marriage. If things have already started falling apart and you know the marriage is most likely to end, do not delay. A marriage lasting less than five years is considered short-term, and a court is less likely to order spousal support payments for either spouse. The longer the marriage lasts, the more likely a judge will order spousal maintenance.
Ensure that your spouse maintains an income. So long as your spouse can work and remains employed, a judge is less likely to order spousal maintenance. If your spouse refuses to become employed after your encouragement, you can hire a vocational expert to assess your spouse’s skills. A vocational expert can determine what job prospects your spouse has, and if they continue to refuse employment, a judge may be less likely to order spousal support because of it.
There are ways for you to avoid spousal maintenance if they have not yet been court-ordered. Failure to pay court-ordered spousal support can only make things worse. For more advice on how to avoid spousal maintenance altogether, you should contact a Hinsdale, IL divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. Call us today at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.