Are you seeking maintenance in a divorce? Are you concerned about paying maintenance in a divorce? Learn about your rights and how I can help.
Spousal Maintenance (usually just called “maintenance”) is an area that frequently gets litigated in a divorce. Generally, this is only an issue if one spouse earns significantly more money than the other spouse. Illinois has a formula for determining spousal support that acts as a guide but it is not set in stone.
So, what exactly is maintenance?
Maintenance is also known as “alimony” or “spousal support”. However, alimony is a term no longer used in Illinois. Maintenance is financial support provided from one ex-spouse to the other. It may be granted on a temporary basis during the divorce proceedings or for a specified time after a divorce becomes final.
Will I receive, or have to pay, maintenance as part of my divorce?
This seems to be the one question I get above all others. However, there is no simple answer. Illinois courts have a set of guidelines to follow in determining the amount to award as spousal support. However, these are only guides and judges are allowed to deviate from these guidelines if the judge finds that cause exists.
Illinois Factors for Determining Spousal Support
The determination of maintenance payments depends on a set of factors. Some of those factors include the following:
- The income and property of each party, including marital property. Where there is a vast difference in income potential and property division, courts may determine that maintenance for some limited period may be appropriate to the spouse with significantly less income potential and property.
- The individual needs of each party. The individual needs of spouses will vary, and the court may look at such circumstances to determine maintenance levels that it deems to be fair.
- The present and future earning capacity of each party. If one spouse has a significantly higher earning capacity than the other spouse, it is more likely that the high-earning spouse will have to pay maintenance to a lower earning spouse.
- The impairment of any earning capacity due to domestic duties of a party. In some cases, the realistic employment opportunities of a person may be limited because of their responsibilities to care for young children or children who may have special needs.
- The time it will take the party seeking maintenance to acquire education, training, or employment. A younger person may have more opportunity to acquire the skills necessary for gaining meaningful employment than a much older person might have. Further, a spouse who has children (particularly younger children) may have a much more difficult time acquiring training and skills than a person who does not have children.
- The duration of the marriage. In general, the shorter the marriage was, the more likely it is that no spousal maintenance will be required, or that spousal maintenance will only be required for a limited time.
- The age and physical conditions of each party. In some cases, the physical condition and/or age of a person will limit that person’s employability. Courts will take these circumstances into account.
- The standard of living established during the marriage. Courts are reluctant to immediately significantly modify the living standards of one spouse and let the other spouse live a much higher standard.
Once I know the unique facts of your marriage, I can provide you with a better assessment of maintenance issues in your divorce.
How I help clients in matters concerning spousal support
Regardless of whether you are potentially facing paying spousal maintenance or if you are seeking maintenance, I can help zealously represent your interests in divorce negotiations and in court. Please call me so that I may learn about your situation; I can then explain how I can help you to find the best solution based upon your objectives.