Qualifying for alimony

When couples in Illinois get divorced, there are a lot of issues that need to be negotiated and resolved. One such point in question is alimony, also known as spousal support. Alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other on an ongoing basis after a marriage ends.

Prior to women developing careers outside the home, alimony was typically paid by men to their ex-wives so that the wives could maintain their current standard of living or, at the very least, afford living expenses. The assumption behind alimony was that women are financially vulnerable after divorce due to not being trained for a career or, in some cases, giving up careers to become homemakers. If the husband had worked consistently during the marriage, he was often in a better financial position than she was.

Things have changed, however, and since the late 20th century, women have developed their own careers and financial resources. However, there are still cases in which support is appropriate.

These circumstances vary, but typically involve a situation in which one spouse is better able to earn a living and has better long-term financial prospects than the other. Stay-at-home parents may be entitled to support while their children are still young or while the parent retrains for a new career. Ill or disabled spouses who can't work may also be entitled to alimony.

While family court judges can order spousal support, many couples choose to negotiate financial issues between themselves. An attorney may provide guidance and support at this time, reviewing a client's circumstances and making recommendations regarding the fair distribution of finances.

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