Tag Archives: Spousal Support

IL divorce lawyerUnlike child support in Illinois, spousal maintenance is not awarded in every divorce case. A judge will weigh every case on its own merits and determine whether a need for maintenance exists. If you believe that you deserve spousal maintenance as part of your divorce, it is important to review some important factors to determine if you are eligible, and then explicitly ask the judge to consider awarding you spousal maintenance.

Marital Misconduct Is Not Considered

When one spouse’s wrongdoing contributed to the breakdown of the marriage, such as if they had an affair, the other spouse often thinks that is enough to obtain spousal maintenance. This is not true. Spousal maintenance is intended to help you if the divorce will leave you in financial hardship. Illinois law specifically prohibits judges from considering marital misconduct when making determinations about spousal maintenance. Although misconduct may play a part in other aspects of the divorce, such as property division, it is not a consideration in maintenance decisions.

Lower Earning Potential

While marital misconduct is not considered in spousal maintenance decisions, your earning potential is a factor. If, during the marriage, you were unable to reach your full earning potential, a judge will consider that when making maintenance decisions. For example, you may have planned to go to school to secure a better career but put those plans on hold so your spouse could pursue their lucrative career. In this case, a judge will likely determine that you contributed to your spouse’s earning capacity and so, award you spousal maintenance. Although in this scenario maintenance may be only temporary until you can increase your earning potential, it will help with your case.

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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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IL divorce lawyerAnyone 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.

What is Alimony?

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.

Are There Different Types of Alimony in Illinois?

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.

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IL divorce attorneyIf you are like other men facing an inevitable divorce, you are likely dealing with a lot of frustration and confusion. Divorce can be a slow and painful process, or it can happen so fast you are not sure how it even came up. Many men assume a lot of things about divorce – whether true or not – simply because of rumors and a lifetime of hearing horror stories about their fathers, uncles, workmates, and others who have been allegedly “fleeced” or “taken to the cleaners” by their ex-wives. With so many stereotypes and myths out there, men tend to enter the process already assuming the worst and thinking their situation is hopeless. The good news is, with proper representation, a solid plan, and the determination to make legally sound choices, most men come through divorce just fine.

One area where men are most confused is the subject of alimony (“maintenance,” as it is called in Illinois). If you are truly concerned about how much maintenance you may have to pay or you feel that your wife should be paying maintenance, definitely consider talking to a Hinsdale divorce lawyer today. But before you let your wife’s attorney convince you to sign something waiving alimony, consider this.

Maintenance Has Nothing to Do with Gender

It seems most people intuitively already know this, but the myths and stereotypes are just so powerful. But it is true. There is no statute, no regulation, no jury instruction, and not a single court decision in modern times that says men must pay maintenance or that women should not. It is simply not part of the equation. To be sure, there is nothing in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act at 750 ILCS 5/457 that mentions which gender should receive or pay maintenance.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people who get divorced end up remarrying, or at least finding a new partner and moving in with them. In 40 percent of marriages, at least one spouse has already been married at some point. Spouses who receive alimony need to carefully consider remarriage or new relationships, as they will likely be wiping out their future spousal support payments. In Illinois, the legal obligation of the paying spouse ends when the receiving spouse gets married or begins living permanently with a new partner. A DuPage County family law attorney can help give you more information whether you are the paying or the receiving spouse.

What Types of Spousal Support Are There?

Alimony, which is also called spousal support or maintenance, is a financial payment made from a higher earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce process or after the marriage has been dissolved. There are many types of alimony, described below:

  • Lump Sum Alimony—One large payment, not to be repeated
  • Rehabilitative Alimony—Financial support used for vocational training or education
  • Reimbursement Alimony—Payment used to reimburse the lower-earning spouse for expenditures they made during the marriage
  • Bridge the Gap Alimony—Spousal support that is awarded during the divorce process, used to provide the lower-earning spouse the means necessary to continue living the lifestyle they grew accustomed to during the marriage
  • Permanent Alimony—Permanent maintenance payments, usually made monthly
  • Temporary Alimony—Spousal support that has a predetermined end date. Many of the previously described types of alimony are temporary.

Temporary and permanent spousal support is affected by remarriage or cohabitation. Alimony that was already paid, be it a lump sum or monthly allotments, does not need to be paid back after remarrying, except for payments made after the receiving spouse remarried or entered a cohabitation relationship.

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