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Mt. Prospect divorce lawyer for spousal supportWhen you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you are likely to have many questions. Where will you live? Who will get the furniture? How will you share parenting responsibilities for your children? All of these, of course, are very valid questions. Many who are considering a divorce may also wonder if they will be ordered to pay alimony—known as “spousal maintenance” under Illinois law. If you are headed for a divorce, it is important to understand how maintenance-related decisions are made in Illinois.

A Brief Background

Spousal maintenance, in general, is intended to help minimize the effects of a divorce on a spouse who is at a comparative financial disadvantage. In previous generations, alimony payments were practically standard in most divorce cases, because a significant percentage of households relied on the income of just one spouse—most often the husband. Meanwhile, the other spouse—most often the wife—usually worked substantially less, if she worked at all. Instead, her primary role was to maintain the family home and care for the couple's children.

When this type of “traditional” couple got divorced, it was effectively impossible for the spouse with hardly any income to support herself, especially if she was given primary custody of the children. As a result, the couple’s divorce judgment generally contained provisions that required the higher-earning spouse to make support payments. Such payments could be temporary or permanent based on whether the lower-earning spouse could eventually support herself.

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Arlington Heights spousal maintenance attorney high net worth

Following a divorce, ex-spouses should be able to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed during their marriage. When one spouse earns a large income, he or she may be required to pay spousal maintenance to his or her former partner. However, a maintenance award is not guaranteed, and this issue often results in contentious battles in divorces that involve a high net worth, particularly when one spouse has a high net worth and the other, on paper at least, does not. 

If you have stayed home to care for children, or if you have been trying to get an education while your spouse has earned the majority of the family’s income, you may be able to receive maintenance (formerly known as alimony) following your divorce. In order to ensure that you receive the spousal support you deserve, you will need to keep the following tips in mind: 

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