Understanding Different Types of Maintenance Orders in an Illinois Divorce
In many Illinois divorce cases, one spouse has significantly greater income and assets than the other. This can make it difficult to reach a fair resolution through the division of property alone, especially if it will be challenging for the other spouse to support themself for quite some time. In these cases, the court will often award spousal maintenance, commonly known as alimony or spousal support. However, maintenance orders come in several different forms, and you should be sure to understand the type of maintenance order, if any, that is likely to apply to your case.
How Do Illinois Courts Award Spousal Support?
If you and your spouse reach an agreement regarding maintenance, or if the court decides that maintenance is necessary, payments may be structured in a variety of ways. These are the most common types of maintenance orders that you should be aware of:
- Temporary maintenance is sometimes ordered before the divorce is finalized to support a spouse in need throughout the divorce process. The appropriate amount is determined on a case-by-case basis using information from a financial affidavit filed by the spouse seeking maintenance. Any spousal maintenance included in the final divorce resolution will be determined separately.
- Fixed-term maintenance requires one spouse to make regular payments to the other for a defined time period, usually based on a calculation that factors in the length of the marriage. The amount is typically determined based on each spouse’s income.
- Lump-sum maintenance is sometimes awarded as an alternative to fixed-term maintenance. Rather than spreading out the payments over time, one spouse will pay the other the entire amount upfront. This is usually only possible when the paying spouse has substantial resources available.
- Reviewable maintenance is similar to fixed-term maintenance, except that the court will designate a date upon which the order will be reviewed to determine whether it should continue or be modified or terminated, perhaps contingent on the receiving spouse’s attempts to become self-sufficient.
- Indefinite maintenance requires regular, ongoing payments with no end date. It is typically only granted when the spouses were married for 20 years or longer, or when the receiving spouse has extraordinary needs.
You should note that fixed-term, reviewable, and indefinite maintenance orders can be modified after a substantial change in either spouse’s circumstances. Additionally, a maintenance order will terminate if either spouse dies, or if the receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a new partner.
Contact a Kane County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer
At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we can help you understand whether spousal support is a likely factor in your divorce case, and we will advise you regarding a reasonable payment structure to pursue. Contact us at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation with one of our St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys.