A divorce is a complex legal process that ends the relationship between two individuals who were previously joined in marriage. The paths that couples take to divorce can look different for everyone, but the issues that distinct couples may confront as they separate their lives can be similar. One divorce-related issue that many Illinois couples must work through is spousal maintenance. This post will offer a review of spousal maintenance in Illinois but should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance has other names in other jurisdictions, such as alimony or spousal support. It is the payment of money from one party to a divorce to the other for a duration of time during and after their divorce process.

How Much Spousal Maintenance Do Individuals Receive?

Spousal maintenance amounts can be agreed to by the parties to a divorce or may be established by state-set guidelines. When considering what may constitute a fair or reasonable amount of spousal maintenance a court may look at many factors related to the parties’ financial situations. Those factors may include but are not limited to:

  • The parties’ incomes;
  • The parties’ earning capacities;
  • The standard of living the parties experienced during their marriage;
  • The length of the marriage; and
  • The health and age of the parties.

Courts can deviate from the guidelines and create their own spousal maintenance plans to meet the needs of the parties whose divorces come before them.

How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last?

Similar to how spousal maintenance is computed, spousal maintenance duration may depend on different factors related to the couples’ unique situations. When marriages have endured for decades before reaching divorce, the parties seeking spousal maintenance may be able to secure permanent maintenance. Marriages of shorter durations may be subject to truncated maintenance durations.

Questions about spousal maintenance should be directed to qualified family law attorneys as different facts and circumstances can change how different spousal maintenance cases resolve. Before initiating divorce, it can be helpful for individuals to speak with divorce attorneys about what they can expect to face as their cases move forward.

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