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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.

Kane County alimony lawyerIn today’s world, many married couples rely on two incomes to live comfortably. Getting a divorce means you are no longer using two incomes to pay bills, as you will likely have to make ends meet with your paycheck alone. For some, this may not be a big deal, but for others, it can make supporting themselves very difficult. This is where spousal maintenance could be very helpful. 

Also known as spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance is either established by an agreement between the spouses or ordered by a judge based on the circumstances of the situation. Maintenance is typically used to allow both spouses to continue a reasonably similar quality of life compared to what they had when they were married.

Factors in Determining Alimony

Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed in all Illinois divorce cases. Absent an agreement between the parties, spousal maintenance will only be awarded when it is needed to make a divorce settlement more equitable. When making determinations about spousal maintenance, the judge will examine the marriage and divorce and will use a specific set of factors to make a decision.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?For many couples, getting a divorce can be a big financial burden. Going from being a dual-income family to having to run a household on one income can be tough on anyone. In situations in which one spouse may be greatly disadvantaged financially after a divorce, a judge might deem it appropriate to award that person spousal maintenance. In Illinois, spousal maintenance, which is also known as alimony or spousal support, is calculated using a specific formula, and it usually only lasts for a specific period of time. If you are getting a divorce, you should understand the basics of Illinois spousal maintenance.

Calculating Spousal Maintenance

If a spouse is awarded spousal maintenance, the formula set forth by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) will be used to determine the amount of the maintenance award. The formula applies to any couple whose combined gross annual income is less than $500,000. The formula is as follows:

  • 33.3% of payor’s net income - 25% of payee’s net income = Maintenance award

The law also states that the amount determined in that formula is not permitted to be more than 40 percent of the combined gross income of both spouses. The length of time the maintenance award is paid depends on the length of the marriage. The IMDMA sets forth a list of multiplying factors that determine the payment period.

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