What is Spousal Support and Why Does it Exist?
Sometimes in marriage, one spouse remains at home with the kids while the other goes off to work every day. For one reason or another, one spouse has been out of the work force for so long that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to find a new job to live on. When this happens, that spouse can face many financial troubles if the couple gets divorced. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem: spousal support.Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, refers to “payments or transfers of money or assets from one spouse to another after a divorce.” Spousal support is not always necessary, but it is needed when one spouse may face a decrease in his or her standard of living after divorce.
Not just anybody is eligible for spousal support. The courts must consider a variety of different factors when determining if a couple is eligible for maintenance, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Financial needs of each spouse;
- Present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
- Length of the marriage;
- Standard of living established during the marriage;
- The time it will take the spouse seeking alimony to obtain the education, training, and employment necessary to re-establish the previous standard of living.
There are different types of spousal support, each lasting a different amount of time. Long-term, or permanent support is typically granted after marriages that lasted about ten years or longer. This type of support is, as the title suggests, permanent, but can end under a variety of different circumstances: the death of one spouse, the remarriage of the recipient, etc.
The two short-term or impermanent types of maintenance are referred to as temporary and rehabilitative. Temporary support lasts during the divorce proceedings and rehabilitative maintenance lasts until the receiving spouse can become self-sufficient.
While spousal maintenance is not for all couples going through divorce, it can be very beneficial for some. If you and your spouse feel that spousal support would be right for you, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney to assist you.