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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 divorce lawyerdivorce can be a stressful and contentious matter, and not just because of the impending end of the relationship. Financial matters are also particularly important in divorce, and they can have a lasting effect on each party’s quality of life. If you are planning on filing for divorce or have recently been served, beware of these money issues in your case and learn how an experienced divorce lawyer may be able to help protect your interests and financial future.

Housing and Living Expenses

When couples split, one typically leaves the family home. The other might stay, or the couple might agree to sell the home and have both parties vacate the premises. Regardless of the living arrangements that you agree to, you should prepare for a possible increase in living expenses. You should also consider how a decrease in income—a common by-product of divorce—will affect your financial situation. As an example, you might consider downsizing before the proceedings begin if maintaining the family home is not a viable option.

Challenges for Disadvantaged Spouses

In a marriage, one spouse might handle all of the couple’s finances, bills, and expenses. In some cases, this same spouse is also the sole income earner. When these two realities are combined, it can create a serious disadvantage for the non-earning spouse. While maintenance and child support may be available, including while the divorce proceedings are pending, disadvantaged spouses often lack the knowledge or resources to pursue such provisions on their own. If you are in such a position, an experienced attorney can help, even if you do not have funds of your own. Do not forgo talking to a lawyer just because you lack available cash. Instead, find out what options may be available to you.

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.

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