Tag Archives: Spousal maintenance in Illinois

IL divorce lawyerPeople going through a divorce have to think about the many different terms they will have to sort through, whether it is during mediation meetings or through litigation. One of the most common terms that comes up during a divorce case is spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is shrouded in many myths and misconceptions, so if you are going through a divorce, it is important to understand the truth behind this common term. To help with this, below are some of the most common questions about spousal maintenance, and the answers to them.

Are Spousal Maintenance and Alimony the Same Thing?

Yes. Although the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act uses the term ‘spousal maintenance’ when talking about payments one spouse will make to the other after divorce, it has the same purpose as alimony.

Does the Lower-Earning Spouse Always Receive Spousal Maintenance?

No. Getting a divorce does not automatically give the lower-earning spouse the right to spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is awarded when a judge deems that it is appropriate for a specific situation and orders one spouse to make payments to the other following the divorce. A judge will consider 13 specific factors when determining whether to award spousal maintenance. These include the age, health, needs, vocational skills, and income, as well as the length of the marriage, and the parent that has custody of the children.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen spousal maintenance is awarded in an Illinois divorce case, one spouse is ordered to pay the other financial support once the divorce is finalized. Spousal maintenance is one of the most hotly contested aspects of divorce, and it is also very misunderstood. Some believe only men are ordered to pay maintenance, while others believe that they will receive payments forever. These are just two of the most common myths surrounding spousal maintenance. The truths behind them are included with the top six misconceptions below.

Spousal Maintenance Is Permanent

Maintenance is only intended to help someone get back on their feet financially once the divorce is finalized. Once the recipient reenters the job market or can fully support themselves, the other may petition the court to stop the support payments. In other instances, maintenance may last for an even shorter amount of time, such as when the spouses are still going through the divorce and before it is finalized.

The Terms of Maintenance Are Permanent

Even while a person continues to make maintenance payments, the terms of the order can be modified. For example, a person paying maintenance may lose their job, or the recipient may get a better job. Both of these situations would change the financial capability of one party, which could result in the court modifying a maintenance order.

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