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Illinois Spousal Support Attorneys
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Spousal support, referred to as maintenance in Illinois (formerly known as alimony), may be awarded to either spouse, as the court seems fair. After a divorce has been finalized, a spouse may get maintenance if he or she has been relying on the other spousebs income and is unable to live on his or her own. Maintenance is designed to “maintain” the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to. In other words it doesn’t have to be permanent. You receive this money until you can achieve that level of income on your own.
In determining whether or not to award maintenance in an Illinois divorce case, the court must consider the following factors:
1. The income and property of each party.2. The needs of each party.3. The present and future earning capacity of each party.4. Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage.5. The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment.6. The standard of living established during the marriage.7. The duration of the marriage.8. The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties.9. The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.10. Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse. 11. Any valid agreement of the parties.12. Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
There are three types of maintenance in Illinois-rehabilitative, permanent and temporary. All are awarded without regard to marital misconduct. By that we mean if you cheated or did something else that led to the divorce it is irrelevant.
Rehabilitative maintenance is given to a spouse who needs time in order to become financially independent and may be for a specified period of time (usually six months to five years) or for an indefinite period. The objective is to help the recipient spouse obtain future employment that will provide for an approximately similar standard of living as attained in the marriage.
Permanent maintenance is, like the name entails, permanent, ending only when one of the former spouses dies, or a certain event occurs. For example, the court may order permanent maintenance to one spouse until the other spouse retires. Permanent maintenance is more appropriate when the receiving spouse is not employable or is employable only at a low income when compared to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. For example, recipients of permanent maintenance awards are usually in at least their 40’s or 50’s who spent most of their lives as a homemaker and raising the children.
Temporary maintenance is available to a spouse requiring support while the divorce is pending. Divorces typically take a year or two to finalize, and once the divorce is finalized, this type of support ends.
The amount a spouse has to pay is decided either by agreement of the parties or a judge will decide. There is no set formula in Illinois; rather the right lawyer makes all the difference. There is no way an attorney can guarantee a certain result, however, hiring an attorney that regularly appears before your judge can help.
Once ordered, maintenance orders can be modified only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. For example, a judge may reconsider the maintenance amount and duration of the payments if the spouse is laid off from work and can only find a job that pays less. Modifications are decided on a case-to-case basis.
Spousal support can be very confusing. We are Illinois lawyers who help people find the right attorney for their situation or we answer your legal questions. All calls are free and confidential. If you would like our help please contact us at any time.