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fixed-term maintenance, spousal support, Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a marriage comes to an end through divorce, one spouse may be at a significant financial disadvantage. In many cases, this spouse may have taken on other roles within the marital relationship, such as primary caregiver for the couple’s children, while financially contributing less. After divorce, a disadvantaged spouse will often need to find new ways to support him- or herself, and spousal maintenance laws are designed to help him or her do so when applicable. Recent changes to the law, however, may allow a court to place limits on spousal support by utilizing fixed-term maintenance in certain situations.

The provisions for fixed-term maintenance went into effect on January 1, 2015, along with a number of other amendments to the Illinois spousal maintenance statute. While the new formula for standardized calculations has been previously discussed in detail, many Illinois residents may be unaware of the court’s option for marriages lasting less than ten years.

The new law does provide guidelines for determining a spousal support order, but it also includes language allowing the court to deviate from them. Additionally, there is nothing in the law that specifically prevents a spouse from repeatedly requesting an extension of support payments, based on the circumstances of the situation. Such a request may not always be granted, but under the provisions in the law, extensions may be possible.

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