Understanding your rights to spousal maintenance in Illinois

If you have recently gone through a divorce in Illinois or you are contemplating filing for a divorce, you must understand your rights when it comes to spousal maintenance. Maintenance, which was once called alimony, can determine the lifestyle that you will likely be able to enjoy in the years to come.

The purpose of maintenance is to ensure fairness between divorcing spouses. It acknowledges that some spouses earn significantly more than the other while taking advantage of the non-financial services of their partner. For example, if one spouse acts as a homemaker and takes care of children, that person may have a lower earning potential than an ex after divorce. However, they would have helped to facilitate the earning potential of their spouse by providing their services during the marriage.

What is the most common type of maintenance?

In the vast majority of cases, rehabilitative maintenance is awarded. This is done with the intention of not making the spouse financially dependent on the payments, but instead to give them time to retrain in another profession that will allow them to live financially independently.

How is the amount of alimony determined after divorce?

The courts in Illinois have broad discretion when it comes to determining the amount of maintenance that should be awarded to a divorcing spouse. First, the age, emotional state, financial condition and the physical health of each spouse will be taken into account. Then, the spouse receiving maintenance will be assessed. The amount of time needed for the spouse to retrain in a high-earning career will be calculated, and maintenance will likely be awarded for the duration of this time.

The length of the marriage will also be considered, as well as the financial property of the divorcing spouse who will be ordered to pay alimony. If it is determined that the spouse paying maintenance will be hindered in their ability to financially support themselves, the amount of maintenance that they will be obligated to pay may be lowered.

If you are going through a divorce and you want to maximize the amount of maintenance you will be awarded , you must be able to demonstrate your financial needs so that you will be able to get the support that you deserve.

It is equally important to work with a knowledgeable family law attorney if you expect to pay maintenance following a divorce, as an aggressive attorney representing your spouse may demand more than you should be expected to pay.

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