Types of Alimony in Illinois
When a couple divorces, one spouse is often left at an economic disadvantage in comparison to the other spouse. When this happens, the Court may award alimony (spousal support), known in Illinois as maintenance.
In Illinois, there are several types of spousal support designed to serve multiple purposes. The duration and the amount of maintenance awarded varies based on several factors and on the circumstances of the marriage.
Typically, Illinois Courts do not award permanent alimony until a divorce has been finalized. In the interim, the spouses may agree to an amount of support. However, if a couple cannot agree on a support amount, a Judge can order temporary maintenance. Usually, a temporary alimony order ends when the Court issues a final divorce decree.
Rehabilitative spousal support is designed for spouses who needs time, after a divorce, to become self-supporting. This type of maintenance pays for a spouse’s living expenses while he or she gains the skills necessary to become financially independent. Rehabilitative maintenance usually lasts for a specific time frame. Often, the maintenance is awarded to a spouse who spent time at home, raising children, rather than working or getting an education.
Fixed-term maintenance may be awarded at the dissolution of marriages that lasted less than 10 years. In this type of spousal support, the Court designates a permanent termination date, after which alimony is barred.
Reviewable maintenance is ordered for a set period. At the expiration of the period, the Court reviews the support order to determine whether the payee spouse has the ability to be self-supporting. The Court then decides to decrease, increase, terminate or continue the alimony. The payee must still make good-faith efforts to become financially independent.
In rare cases, the Court may order a permanent award of alimony, with no end date. A permanent award is used mainly in long marriages, or when the payee spouse permanently lacks the capability to become self-supporting, such as when the spouse is elderly or disabled.
Unallocated maintenance is available in situations where one spouse pays alimony and child support — the payor spouse pays alimony and child support together as a lump sum. The support is tax-deductible for the payor spouse and taxable for the payee. Therefore, there may be tax advantages — money may be moved from a higher to a lower tax bracket. Unallocated maintenance cannot be ordered unless the spouses agree. However, unallocated maintenance may be ordered in a pre-dissolution temporary order.
Maintenance orders are an important aspect of divorce and have long-term effects on both spouses, long after a divorce is finalized. If you have any questions regarding the types of alimony available in Illinois, please contact skilled Palatine family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson for a free initial consultation.