Most people are familiar with the concept of alimony, in which one spouse makes payments to the other after a couple gets a divorce. However, the purpose of these types of payments is often misunderstood. Spousal support, which is known as spousal maintenance in Illinois, is not meant to punish or reward either spouse. In fact, the reason a couple’s marriage ended will usually not be considered when determining whether maintenance is appropriate. Instead, spousal maintenance is meant to address any disparity between the parties’ incomes and financial resources. It can help a spouse who earns a lower income maintain their accustomed standard of living and begin taking steps to support themselves.
Factors Considered When Determining Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance will not be awarded in every divorce, and it is usually only appropriate if one party requires financial support to be able to meet their ongoing needs. Spouses may agree that spousal maintenance will be paid as part of their divorce settlement, or a prenuptial agreement may specify that spousal support will or will not be awarded. If the spouses disagree about whether spousal support would be appropriate, the judge in their case will decide whether to award maintenance after considering factors such as:
- The income earned by each spouse, the marital property distributed to each party, and any separate property owned by either spouse
- The parties’ ongoing financial needs
- The standard of living the parties were accustomed to during their marriage
- Each spouse’s realistic ability to earn an income both currently and in the future
- Issues that affect each spouse’s employment and financial situation, including their age, health, education, skills, and liabilities
- Whether the spouse who is seeking financial support has experienced any impairment to their ability to earn an income due to focusing on household or domestic responsibilities, including delaying education or career opportunities in favor of providing care for the couple’s children
- Whether the spouse who is seeking maintenance will need time to receive education or training in order to pursue employment and become self-supporting
- Whether the spouse who is seeking spousal support assisted with the other party’s education, training, or career advancement, including through financial assistance or performing services.
- Whether the party who is being asked to pay spousal support has experienced any impairment of their ability to earn an income at present or in the future
- Whether decisions about child custody will have any effect on either party’s ability to pursue or maintain employment
- Any other relevant factors that are just and equitable
Contact Our Geneva Spousal Maintenance Attorney
Whether you believe that you should receive spousal support or do not believe that you should be required to pay support to your former spouse, The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates can advise you on how the law applies to your case. With more than 40 years of experience in family law cases, Attorney Warlick can provide you with representation and make sure that spousal maintenance and other issues are addressed correctly during your divorce. To schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you resolve your legal issues, contact our Kane County spousal support lawyer at 630-232-9700.