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The Basics of Spousal Support in Illinois

 Posted on November 09, 2016 in Spousal Support

Lombard family law attorneysIf you are planning on filing for divorce and either you or your spouse are at a distinct financial disadvantage, the lower- or non-earning spouse may be entitled to spousal support. What exactly does this mean for your case? The following can help you understand the basics of spousal support (alimony).

When Is Spousal Support Awarded?

Spousal support is known in Illinois law as maintenance and can be awarded to any financially disadvantaged spouse. It may be needed because the wife worked as the sole or primary income earner and the husband stayed home with the children, which puts him at a disadvantage after the divorce. Alternatively, it may be awarded to a wife who has sacrificed her own education or career to advance the high-powered career of her husband. It may even be needed if one spouse became unable to work because of health issues. Whatever the situation may be, the purpose of spousal support is always the same: it is meant to temporarily or permanently offset the financial disadvantage of the lesser- or non-earning spouse may experience after divorce.

How the Amount and Duration of Spousal Support Are Determined

While there is a formula for determining spousal support in Illinois, this formula may not always be strictly adhered to in every divorce. Further, the court must still determine if spousal support is, in fact, warranted. This is done by examining several factors, including:

  • Income, property, and assets of each spouse;
  • Each spouse’s financial need;
  • Each spouse’s current and future earning potential;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Living standards established during the marriage;
  • Physical, mental, and emotional condition of each spouse;
  • Reduction to either spouse’s earning capacity;
  • Amount of time it might take for the disadvantaged spouse to obtain gainful employment, including the amount of time it would take them to obtain necessary job skills, training, and/or education;
  • Tax consequences that may be experienced by either party;
  • Determination of the allocation of parental responsibilities and/or parenting time (if applicable);
  • Any existing agreements between the parties; and
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant.

Parties can come to an agreement outside of court should they so choose. However, a judge can make the determination if the couple is unable to reach an agreement. The aforementioned considerations, along with the spousal maintenance formula may be used to help determine the amount and duration of support. Alternatively, the judge may choose to deviate from the formula, if there is a considerable reason to do so (i.e. the family income exceeds the $250,000 threshold).

Get the Settlement You Deserve

If you believe you or your spouse may be entitled to spousal support, it is important to protect your interests and financial future. Skilled and experienced, we will aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Get the seasoned representation and fair settlement that you deserve. Schedule your consultation with our dedicated Lombard family law attorneys today.



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