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Anyone entering into a divorce should understand the many different terms associated with the process, and alimony is just one of them. Alimony, also referred to as maintenance in Illinois, is a very misunderstood aspect of divorce. Some spouses think they are entitled to it when they are not, while others never think to ask for it, yet they qualify for alimony payments. To clear up any confusion on this important aspect of divorce, the four most common questions surrounding alimony are answered below.
The term alimony refers to a monetary amount that one spouse pays to the other after divorce. In some cases, one spouse may also pay alimony during the divorce. A judge will typically award alimony to one spouse when there is a large discrepancy between the income of the two spouses or when one spouse will be left in financial hardship after the divorce. The purpose of alimony is to place each spouse in the same financial position after the divorce is finalized.
A spouse is allowed under Illinois law to ask for temporary alimony when a divorce case is pending. A judge will consider the income of each spouse, any child support orders, and if the requesting spouse is in need of financial support. Temporary alimony orders are typically dissolved when the divorce is final and the judge creates a new alimony order.
Rehabilitative alimony is paid after the divorce. A judge may order a spouse to pay alimony on a short or long-term basis, or even indefinitely. This type of alimony allows one spouse to receive financial support while they work on job skills or otherwise try to become financially independent.
In rare cases, a judge may order one spouse to pay permanent alimony. These orders are usually only given when the recipient is ill, has reached an elderly age, or is otherwise unable to support themselves at all after the divorce.
Either spouse can request alimony during a divorce, but a judge will only award it if the divorce is going to leave a spouse in financial hardship after a divorce. If both spouses can support themselves after the divorce, a judge is unlikely to award alimony, even if one spouse is a much higher income earner.
Like so many other things about alimony, whether alimony can be modified will depend on the facts of a certain case. If the recipient moves in with someone else or is otherwise financially supported, typically the payer can request a modification or termination of alimony payments. In the case that the financial situation of either spouse drastically changes, they can also petition the court to modify an alimony order.
For example, if the recipient secures a high-paying job, the payer may request a change or termination of alimony. On the other hand, if the payer suddenly loses their job, they may also petition the court to change the alimony order.
If you are considering divorce, there is a lot to think about and you may already have alimony concerns on your mind. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our experienced Hinsdale family lawyers can help. After reviewing your case, we will advise on whether you qualify for alimony or if you may have to pay it, and all other terms of your divorce. We will also work hard throughout your divorce to ensure your interests are protected and your rights are upheld. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.