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When getting a divorce, a common concern for a spouse is that he or she may not be able to support themselves or maintain the same standard of living they had during marriage. In Illinois, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, when a marital couple divorces, either spouse may request maintenance, (also known as “spousal support” or “alimony”).
Maintenance is distinct from child support. A court may order that maintenance be provided to a spouse when it is determined that they need the financial assistance or support. The amount or type of maintenance that a court may order usually depends on the length of the marriage, and the ability (or lack thereof) of a spouse to maintain the same standard of living as during the marriage.
The following are various types of maintenance:
Temporary. This is awarded in the period during and up to the time in which the parties obtain their marriage dissolution.
Rehabilitative. This is awarded to a spouse for a reasonable and specific amount of time as determined by the court. Rehabilitative maintenance is awarded for as long as the court believes it will take said spouse to enter or return to the job market and become self-supporting.
Reviewable. This is reviewed by the court after a specific period of time to determine whether or not a spouse has become self-supporting. Upon review the court may modify, extend, or terminate the maintenance.
Permanent. This a permanent award of maintenance, allowing a spouse to always have the financial support necessary to maintain the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage, after the divorce.
Factors Used in Determining Spousal Maintenance
Beyond the factors mentioned above, there are numerous considerations used to determine the appropriate type and amount of maintenance a spouse receives. Illinois does not consider marital misconduct when determining maintenance (so it does not matter who was at fault in causing the marriage to dissipate), but other factors considered are as follows: the emotional condition and age of each spouse; the assets, property, and income of each spouse; each spouse’s current and future earning capacity; any valid (pre-marital or post-marital) agreement; whether or not it is appropriate for the spouse requesting alimony to work (have a steady income) while simultaneously having the responsibility as the residential custodian of the child, and; whether or not the spouse requesting alimony can become self-supporting, and if so, how long it would take them to do so if they pursued an education and/or employment.
Overall, maintenance is awarded to either spouse depending on the conditions and circumstances surrounding his or her ability to maintain the quality of their livelihood. Accordingly, unless the spouses agree to non-modified maintenance, maintenance awards are modifiable and such amendments may be warranted if there has been a substantial change in circumstances for either spouse. Finally, a maintenance award will terminate upon the cohabitation, remarriage, or death of the spouse receiving maintenance support.
Contact an Attorney for Assistance
The family law attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio, located in Hinsdale, Illinois, understand that going through a divorce can be challenging and emotional. We are experienced in handling complex marriage dissolution cases and are and ready to serve you throughout the entirety of the divorce process. Contact our experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers today.