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What Is the Difference Between Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support?

Posted on in Spousal Support

Untitled-88.jpgWhen a couple decides to end their marriage, they will need to address a variety of concerns as they proceed with their divorce. In some cases, spousal support (also known as spousal maintenance or alimony) will be an important issue to address. Spousal support orders will create a legal obligation in which one spouse will be required to pay financial support to their former partner. These payments may be necessary to address a disparity in the incomes earned by the parties and ensure that both spouses will be able to maintain their standard of living. However, it is important to understand that spousal support can be awarded in different forms, including both temporary and permanent support.

Temporary Spousal Support

Temporary maintenance, as the name suggests, is awarded for a limited period of time during divorce proceedings. This is designed to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse until a final spousal support order is issued. Temporary support is meant to maintain the status quo and ensure that both spouses can meet their financial needs during the divorce process.

A family court judge may determine an appropriate amount of temporary spousal support based on the incomes and needs of both spouses. The court will consider factors such as the expenses that both spouses will need to pay and the financial resources available to each party. The goal is to ensure that both spouses will be able to meet their needs during the divorce process. When temporary alimony is ordered, one spouse will be required to make regular payments to the other, and this requirement will typically remain in place until the divorce is finalized.

Permanent Spousal Support

Permanent maintenance is awarded as part of a divorce decree or judgment and goes into effect after the divorce is finalized. Spousal maintenance is intended to provide ongoing financial support to the lower-earning spouse for an extended period of time. In most cases, spousal support will be paid for a fixed amount of time that will be based on the length of the couple’s marriage. 

In some cases, maintenance may be reviewable, and after a certain period of time, the court will examine the circumstances of the spouses to determine whether payments should continue, whether they should be increased or decreased, or whether support obligations should be terminated. Reviewable maintenance may be awarded in situations where the lower-earning spouse needs time to become self-supporting, and it may ensure that they will be able to pursue a college degree or take other steps to increase their income-earning capacity.

In some situations, indefinite maintenance may be awarded, and payments will continue until the death of one spouse or the remarriage of the recipient to a new partner. This may be an option in cases where a couple was married for 20 years or more or in situations where a spouse has a disability or other issues that prevent them from being able to support themselves on their own. 

When determining whether permanent spousal support should be awarded, the court will consider a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the earning capacity of each spouse, and financial or personal contributions made by one spouse to the other’s education, career, or income-earning abilities. While family court judges have discretion when determining whether to award permanent spousal support, they will generally follow a statutory formula to calculate the amount of support that will be paid. This formula takes both parties’ incomes into account and also places limits on the amount that may be awarded. When the support a person receives is added to the income  earned individually, the total amount said individual takes home must be no higher than 40 percent of the couple’s combined gross income.

Contact Our Palatine Spousal Support Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce or separation and have questions about spousal support, an experienced family law attorney can provide answers and ensure that you will be prepared to address this issue correctly. The Northwest Cook County spousal maintenance attorney at The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. can provide you with representation during your divorce, advocating for solutions that will protect your financial interests. We understand the complexities of spousal support laws in Illinois, and we will work diligently to ensure that you will be prepared for success after your divorce has been finalized. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us at 847.873.6741.



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