Divorce can bring about complicated financial questions. One issue that many divorcing individuals have questions about is alimony. Alimony or spousal support is referred to as spousal maintenance in Illinois law. Often, spousal maintenance is used to help a spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse transition into being financially self-supporting after a divorce. In some situations, spousal maintenance is permanent. If you earn a higher income than your spouse or your spouse does not work outside the home, it is possible that you will be required to pay maintenance.
When is Spousal Maintenance Awarded in Illinois?
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement that requires you to pay spousal maintenance following divorce, the court will most likely uphold this requirement. However, if there are issues that invalidate the prenuptial agreement, the maintenance agreement may not be legally binding. If you have not agreed to pay maintenance through a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, the court has discretion when it comes to ordering maintenance. If your spouse files a petition for spousal maintenance, the court will consider a range of factors to determine if maintenance is appropriate. The court will look at:
- The income, assets, expenses, employability, and future earning capacity of both spouses
- Each spouse’s financial needs
- The duration of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage
- Any damage to the future earning capacity of the spouse seeking alimony caused by domestic or childcare duties
- Contributions that a spouse made to the progression of the other spouse’s career or education
- Whether the spouse requesting alimony can become self-supporting
- The spouses’ age and health
Fighting a Request for Alimony
You are not required to pay alimony simply because you earn a higher income than your spouse. However, it is possible that your spouse will present a good argument for receiving maintenance to the court. Some spouses even exaggerate or outright lie when making a spousal maintenance request. If you suspect that your spouse will petition the court for spousal maintenance during your divorce, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who is familiar with Illinois spousal maintenance laws. Your attorney will help ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not forced to pay an unjustified amount of alimony.
Contact a St. Charles Alimony Lawyer
Alimony or spousal maintenance is typically awarded when a spouse is unable to support themselves financially after a divorce. For help with a range of spousal maintenance concerns, contact an Illinois divorce attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office at 630-584-5550 to set up a free consultation today.