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Should You Ask for Spousal Support in Your Divorce?

Posted on in Spousal Support

Lombard spousal support attorneysIf you will soon be getting divorced, you may believe that you have the right to receive spousal support—also called maintenance—payments from your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Spousal support, unlike child support, is not automatically assumed to be necessary in every Illinois divorce. Under Illinois law, the court must take each case individually to determine if a maintenance award is actually needed to promote an equitable outcome. This means that if you think you are entitled to support, you will probably need to ask for it explicitly.

Marital Misconduct Is Not a Factor

Unless you and your spouse included behavior clauses in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will not consider the conduct of either party when deciding whether to award maintenance. While your spouse’s behavior may leave you feeling like he or she owes you some type of restitution, the law in Illinois specifically prohibits marital misconduct from being a factor in maintenance proceedings. Spousal support is meant to help you meet your financial needs and obligations, and is not intended to be used as a punitive measure against your spouse.

Decreased Earning Potential

While the law does not allow support to be awarded on the basis of infidelity or marital misconduct, other factors in your relationship can affect the proceedings in your favor. If your role in the marriage or as a parent has impaired your ability to reach your full earning potential, your chances of being awarded of support may be better.

For example, if you left school to stay home with the children while your spouse continued to progress in his or her career, your contribution your spouse’s earning capacity should not be ignored. You may not be the one going to work every day in that particular job, but you certainly helped him or her be able to so. Following your divorce, your ability to support yourself may be hampered by your previous focus on marital and family responsibilities, and spousal maintenance may be appropriate to alleviate some of the difficulty.

Standard of Living

The law also recognizes your right to maintain some semblance of stability after your divorce. The lifestyle that you and your spouse enjoyed may not be able to be completely replicated once the marriage ends, but you should not be forced to suffer an extreme change in financial circumstances. If you and your spouse, for example, were living relatively comfortably in a large home with many conveniences and amenities, it is unreasonable for you to be suddenly relegated to a tiny, one-bedroom apartment, struggling to make ends meet. In such a case, a court would be likely to find that support is needed, dependent, of course, upon a number of other considerations as well.

Get the Answers You Need

As with most aspects of family law, deciding whether to seek spousal maintenance is a very personal decision, based on your own unique needs. Our team is ready to assist you in understanding your various options under the law. Contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney today to get legal guidance from a team dedicated to helping you achieve the post-divorce future you deserve. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule an appointment.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

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