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Wheaton family lawyer for Spousal Maintenance

There are a variety of financial issues that can affect a couple during a divorce. In some cases, one party may ask for financial support from their former spouse because they believe that they need assistance to cover their ongoing expenses. This form of support is known as spousal maintenance in Illinois, although it may also be referred to as alimony or spousal support. Spousal maintenance will not be appropriate in every situation, and it is generally only awarded if a spouse can demonstrate that they need assistance meeting their ongoing needs and that the other spouse has the ability to pay support. By understanding the situations where spousal support may be appropriate, spouses can ensure that they are addressing this issue correctly during the divorce process.

Cases Where Spousal Support May Be Needed

Spousal maintenance is meant to allow both parties to maintain the standard of living they were used to while they were married. If spousal support is awarded, the amount that one spouse will pay to the other will be determined by using a formula that takes both parties’ incomes into account, and the length of time that payments will last will be determined based on the length of time the couple was married.

St. Charles spousal support lawyerThere are a variety of reasons why either spouse may wish to modify the terms of their divorce. Both parties may experience changes in their lives that affect their finances, their living arrangements, and their ability to meet their ongoing obligations or provide for themselves. Based on these changes, a person may believe that the decisions made about spousal support during the divorce process no longer apply to their situation. If a person believes that a modification of spousal maintenance is needed, they will want to understand their options and the procedures that will be followed.

Requesting a Modification of Spousal Maintenance

As with other types of post-divorce modifications, requests to make changes to spousal support obligations will need to be based on significant changes in the circumstances of either or both parties. These requests will usually be based on changes to the income and financial resources available to the parties. For example, if a person paying support loses their job, they may ask for maintenance payments to be reduced or terminated. Similarly, if the person receiving support experiences a decrease in income or an increase in their financial needs, they may ask that support payments be increased.

To request a modification of spousal support, a person will need to file a petition with the court. When considering whether to modify maintenance, the court will look at issues such as:

Kane County divorce lawyerFollowing a divorce in Illinois, the party in a better financial position may be required to make ongoing payments to their former partner. Known as alimony, spousal support, or spousal maintenance, the exact structure of these payments will depend on many different factors, with some ending after a specified time and others lasting indefinitely.

This raises an important question: Does remarriage affect alimony? The short answer is that the recipient’s remarriage is grounds to end alimony, whereas the paying spouse’s remarriage does not have a direct impact on their financial obligations. Here, our divorce attorneys highlight the key things you should know about spousal support and remarriage in Illinois.

The Recipient’s Remarriage Terminates Alimony Obligations

Illinois law is clear: If the spouse who is receiving alimony gets remarried, payments will automatically stop. According to state statute, “an obligor's obligation to pay maintenance or unallocated maintenance terminates by operation of law on the date the obligee remarries.” In other words, the spouse paying alimony does not have to get a court order to stop the payments. However, if the spouse paying alimony gets remarried, they cannot stop making payments, as their remarriage or new relationship is not grounds to terminate their alimony obligations.

Kane County spousal maintenance lawyerDuring a divorce case, there are a wide variety of legal and financial issues that will need to be addressed. One key issue that may play a role in some divorces is the matter of financial support paid by one spouse to the other. This form of support, which is commonly known as alimony, is referred to as spousal maintenance in Illinois. Those who are going through the divorce process will want to be sure to understand the laws surrounding spousal maintenance and the situations in which it may be awarded. By working with an experienced divorce attorney, you can be sure this issue will be addressed correctly as you work to legally dissolve your marriage.

The Purpose of Spousal Maintenance

Contrary to popular belief, alimony is not meant to be a punishment or a reward for either spouse. Instead, it is intended to address disparities in the incomes earned by divorcing spouses. Following a divorce, spouses should be able to continue living at the standard they enjoyed while they were married, but this can be difficult or impossible for one spouse if the other spouse earned the majority of the family’s income. For a person who was reliant on their spouse to provide for their needs, receiving spousal maintenance will allow them to support themselves after their divorce while also giving them the means to obtain education, pursue employment, and become self-supporting.

When Will Spousal Maintenance Be Awarded?

During the divorce process, a spouse may petition the court for temporary maintenance. These payments can allow them to establish new living arrangements and pay ongoing expenses. When negotiating a divorce settlement or resolving matters through litigation, a spouse may ask that permanent maintenance be awarded. These payments will be made after the divorce is finalized, and in many cases, maintenance will be paid for a fixed amount of time. However, in some cases, maintenance may be reviewable, meaning that after a certain period of time, the court will look at the parties’ circumstances to determine whether payments should continue or be terminated or modified.

Kane County spousal maintenance attorneyIf you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you and your spouse will need to resolve a number of issues. For many couples, property and money-related concerns are among the most challenging considerations. You have likely worked hard to earn what you have, so the possibility of “losing” your hard-earned assets during your divorce may not sit well with you. You may also be concerned about the possibility of paying maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—which can lead to disagreements as you are headed for a divorce.

Depending on where you are in the divorce process, you may have questions about spousal support and whether it will be a factor in your Illinois divorce. Some of the most frequently asked maintenance questions include:

Will Maintenance Be Awarded Automatically?

Under the law in Illinois, maintenance will only be granted following a divorce if the requesting spouse can prove that such support is needed to facilitate an equitable divorce. Maintenance is not automatic or guaranteed, and requesting it does not mean that it will necessarily be granted. If, however, you and your spouse already have a valid prenuptial agreement that says spousal support is to be paid, you can generally assume that the court will enforce the agreement.

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