Spousal Maintenance in Illinois: The Basics
Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, refers to the payments one spouse (the obligor) makes to the other (the obligee) after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to provide "reasonable and necessary" financial support to the lower-earning spouse.
In Illinois, there are four main types of spousal support: temporary, permanent, reviewable, and rehabilitative. Temporary maintenance is sometimes ordered by a judge in order to help a spouse financially during the divorce proceeding. If a judge orders permanent maintenance, the obligor makes payments until the spouse passes away, remarries, or cohabits with a new partner. If the obligor passes away before the recipient, the decedent’s estate does not have to continue payments.
Permanent maintenance is generally ordered in instances where the marriage lasted 20 years or more. Rehabilitative spousal support is a temporary support measure which allows the obligee time to acquire the education, skills, training, work history, and licensure needed to become financially independent. Finally, reviewable alimony refers to orders for spousal support which are made with the intention of being reviewed and possibly modified or discontinued by the courts in the future.
When Is Maintenance Awarded?
When determining if spousal support will be awarded, courts consider several factors including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The income and property of each spouse;
- The present financial circumstances and future professional earning capacity of each spouse;
- Negative influences on the earning capacity of either spouse caused by time spent as a stay-at-home-parent or homemaker;
- The physical and mental health of both spouses; and
- Any previously established prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
The amount that the payments will be is determined partially by the couples combined income. If the couple has an annual income of $500,000 or less, the law provides formulas to be used in calculating the amount and duration of support orders. If a couple makes more than $500,000 a year, the courts will look at many factors to determine the amount of alimony that is appropriate. Judges will often consider how much money each spouse can reasonably earn every month, the expenses each is responsible for, and how much money each needs to continue enjoying the standard of living established during the marriage.
Let Us Help
If you are considering divorce, or have further questions about spousal support, contact a skilled Kane County divorce lawyer to get the assistance you need. Call MKFM Law at 630-549-0960 to schedule a confidential consultation today.