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What Factors Can Affect Spousal Support in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on December 04, 2023 in Spousal Support

Arlington Heights spousal support lawyerDivorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged process, and it will involve multiple types of legal and financial concerns. Out of the many complex issues couples may need to navigate, spousal support may be an important factor affecting both parties' financial health. Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, refers to financial support provided by one spouse to the other after a divorce. In Illinois, spousal support may be awarded based on several factors outlined by state law. An experienced attorney can guide how to address issues related to spousal maintenance and ensure that all factors are assessed correctly. 

According to Illinois law, a family court judge may consider a variety of issues when determining whether spousal maintenance will be awarded during a divorce. These factors include:

The Duration of the Marriage

The amount of time a couple was married will play a crucial role in determining whether spousal support will be awarded. Generally, longer marriages tend to have a higher likelihood of maintenance being awarded than shorter ones. If maintenance is awarded, the length of a couple's marriage will also be used to calculate the duration of a spousal support order.

Earning Capacity and Financial Resources

The income and financial resources available to each party are significant factors in determining spousal support in an Illinois divorce. The court may consider each party's present income and potential future earning capacity when making its decisions. Suppose one spouse earns significantly less or has limited work opportunities due to factors such as child-rearing responsibilities or health issues. In that case, they may be eligible for ongoing spousal support from their higher-earning ex-spouse.

Standard of Living During Marriage

The primary purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both parties can maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce compared to what they were accustomed to during their marriage. If a significant discrepancy between spouses' incomes affects one party's ability to maintain their lifestyle independently, the lower-earning spouse may be eligible for ongoing financial assistance.

Contributions Made by Each Spouse

Courts will consider each spouse's contributions during the marriage, both monetarily and non-monetarily. Contributions can include:

  • Raising children.
  • Supporting the educational pursuits of the other spouse.
  • Enabling the other spouse's professional development.

If one spouse made significant sacrifices to support the other's career or education, they may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance. It is crucial for a person who is seeking spousal support in an Illinois divorce to document their contributions and provide evidence supporting their claims.

Health and Age

Both parties' physical statuses will be considered when determining whether spousal support will be awarded in an Illinois divorce. For example, if a spouse has ongoing health issues that limit their ability to work and support themselves independently, they may be more likely to receive long-term maintenance. Each spouse's age may also play a role in determining whether they will require financial support for a certain period or the remainder of their lifetime.

Marital Agreements

Agreements spouses had made in the past may be considered when determining whether spousal support will be awarded. If a couple has a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in place, the terms of this agreement may specify whether either party will receive spousal maintenance, the amount of support that will be paid, and the duration that these payments will last. Most of the time, courts will follow the terms of agreements between spouses. However, there may be some exceptions in cases involving extraordinary circumstances that were unforeseeable when the agreement was initially signed.

Contact Our Arlington Heights, IL Spousal Support Lawyer

If you have questions about spousal support in an Illinois divorce, the knowledgeable Mt. Prospect, IL spousal maintenance attorney at The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. is here to help you understand your rights and options. We will advise you on how Illinois law applies in your situation, and we will work to ensure that your financial interests will be protected as you work to dissolve your marriage. Contact us today at 847.873.6741 to set up a free consultation.

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