Will I Receive Spousal Support?
When a married couple chooses to end their marriage through divorce, the court may award spousal support to one spouse. Spousal support is sometimes referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance. It refers to payments that one spouse makes to the other in order to help him or her maintain their quality of life after the marriage has ended. Spousal support can be based on an arrangement between the couple, a prenuptial agreement, or a decision by the court itself.
How Is Spousal Support Awarded?
Spousal support is similar to child support in that it is awarded to a person who needs income support from a former spouse. Unlike child support, which in most states is awarded according to very specific guidelines, courts have much more discretion in determining if spousal support is appropriate or not. The court also decides how much spousal support will be awarded and for how long payments will occur. Courts consider the following factors in making decisions about spousal support:
- Both spouses’ age, physical condition, and emotional state;
- Both spouses' financial condition, including assets and income;
- Any impairment to the earning capacity of the spouse requesting support due to time spent raising children or maintaining the shared home;
- Contributions that a spouse made to the other spouse’s education or career;
- The present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
- The couple's standard of living during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage;
- The length of time the recipient of spousal support would need to become self-sufficient; and
- The ability of the payer spouse to pay support payments and still support himself or herself.
The court will consider all of the relevant factors in making its decision, and no single factor is considered more important than any other.
Is Support Always Awarded?
Spousal support is not always awarded in Illinois. If both spouses are or have the ability to be self-supporting, there may not be a need for either spouse to pay support to the other. If there is a substantial difference in income between the two spouses, courts may distribute more of the marital property to the lower-earning spouse instead of or in addition to ordering ongoing payments
Trusted Legal Aid
Even under the best of financial circumstances, divorce can be a complicated and exhausting undertaking. Fortunately, you do not have to face the process alone. An experienced Kane County family law attorney can help guide you through the divorce and fight for your rights. Call The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates at 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation today.