The Basics of Spousal Support in Illinois

Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, refers to payments or transfers of assets from one spouse to another after a divorce. Spousal support is used in the event that one spouse had previously been responsible for the financial status of the marriage while the other was either untrained or had left the work force for a substantial period of time. After the divorce, the unemployed spouse may suffer from a decrease in their standard of living. Spousal maintenance exists to prevent this from happening.

Before awarding spousal maintenance, the courts must consider a few different factors that can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Any valid agreement of the parties
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The financial needs of each spouse
  • Both spouses' income and property, including marital property, awarded to both spouses and any non-marital property awarded to the spouse requesting alimony

Spousal support can be awarded in three different forms: “permanent,” “gross,” and “rehabilitative.” Under permanent support, payments or transfers will be made until one of the parties dies or the court later modifies the agreement due to a change in circumstances. Gross maintenance refers to one large payment around the date of the divorce, instead of payments over a period of time. The third form, rehabilitative, consists of payments over a specified length of time- generally six months to five years.

Under Illinois law, both spouses are eligible for spousal support. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just the husband who must make alimony payments. If you and your spouse are getting a divorce and feel that spousal support or maintenance is necessary for you, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney to assist you in obtaining it.

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