How spousal support works in Illinois

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Family Law

Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is a financial consideration in many divorces. Specific guidelines determine if one spouse will provide post-divorce monetary support to the other.

Understanding how Illinois calculates spousal support can help you budget for your life after marriage.

Reviewing eligibility

Not every divorcing individual can receive or must pay spousal support. The state considers factors such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The financial needs of each spouse
  • The standard of living during the marriage

Generally, income disparity between the spouses results in an alimony determination. With a significant income difference, the court may award the lower-earning spouse support to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Assessing financial needs and resources

Both spouses must provide full financial disclosure to determine the amount and duration of spousal support. The court will examine your income, assets and debts.

The judge will also review each person’s ability to support themselves after divorce. The average household income in Illinois is about $73,000, which dramatically decreases for many separated couples.

Determining the duration of support

Illinois courts may award rehabilitative or permanent spousal support. Rehabilitative support helps the lower-earning spouse acquire the necessary skills or education necessary to become self-supporting. The court may award permanent support if one spouse cannot achieve full financial independence.

The length of the marriage often influences the duration of support payments. Longer marriages tend to result in longer spousal support obligations.

Spousal support orders are not set in stone. Either spouse can request that the court modify or terminate the order if circumstances change. For example, the paying spouse may become unemployed or the receiving spouse may remarry or get a full-time job.