How Long Will I Be Required to Pay Spousal Maintenance?
After a divorce, there is often a significant disparity between each spouse’s ability to be financially self-sufficient. This could be the result of differing familial roles during the marriage, child custody arrangement subsequent to the divorce, and many other factors. To help alleviate the financial impact on the more-dependent spouse, the court may order—or the spouses may agree to—spousal maintenance for a period of time following the divorce. How long such an order will last, however, is dependent upon the circumstances of each case.
Your order for spousal maintenance will be based upon provisions set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The law provides calculation formulas for both the amount of maintenance to be paid and the length of time for which it will be paid, to be used in most divorce situations. The duration of your order is determined by multiplying the length of your marriage by a percentage factor designated in the law. The percentages are weighted so that longer marriages will result in longer orders for maintenance. The factors range from 20 percent for marriages lasting 0-5 years up to 80 percent for marriages lasting 15-20 years, and possible permanent maintenance for those over 20 years.
Unless a valid agreement exists to the contrary, maintenance payments, regardless of permanence or the time remaining on the order, will terminate upon the death of either party. Life insurance payouts may be paid out to the recipient spouse, if so ordered by a previous agreement, but future payments from the estate are not required. Additionally, if the party receiving maintenance remarries, or cohabits with another person on a “resident, continuing conjugal basis.” Despite the use of the word “conjugal,” Illinois case law has found that this type of cohabitation situation is possible without a sexual relationship. It, instead, focuses on a financially interdependent household arrangement, similar to that of a de facto husband and wife relationship. Thus, the paying party is not expected to support the recipient party’s new household.
If you are currently paying spousal maintenance and would like to have your case reviewed for possible termination, contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today. We will meet with your to discuss your situation, and help you understand your available options under the law. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule an appointment today.