Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/504, a spouse can seek maintenance, or what is commonly known as alimony, from his or her spouse in the context of a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or annulment proceeding. Maintenance may be temporary or permanent in nature. The amount and duration of a maintenance award is up to the discretion of the court, which must take into consideration all relevant factors, including the following:
- The income and property of each party
- The needs of each party
- The present and future earning capacity of each party
- Any impairment to a spouse’s earning capacity due to his or her devotion to domestic duties during the marriage, thus forgoing educational or employment opportunities
- The time necessary for the party seeking maintenance to obtain the appropriate education or training in order to become self-sufficient through employment, or whether the party is the custodian of a child, making it appropriate that the party not seek employment
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical condition, and emotional condition of the parties
- The tax consequences of the property division upon each party’s economic circumstances
- Any agreement of the parties, and
- Any other factor that the court finds to be just and equitable
Essentially, the court has the authority to determine whether a maintenance order is appropriate, how much that order should be, and how long that order should last. The court does not have to specify the length of the order, but can simply enter an indefinite order, depending on the circumstances. Based on the factors listed above, a court may make the following common types of maintenance orders:
- Rehabilitative maintenance is designed to allow a spouse a specific period of time in which to become financially self-sufficient.
- Permanent maintenance is typically awarded in a case where there has been a long marriage and one spouse is unable to support himself or herself due to disability, age, or length of time out of the workforce.
- Temporary maintenance usually only lasts while the divorce is pending.
- Maintenance in gross is a certain amount that is made by one spouse to the other, either in a lump sum or through installments.
If you are seeking a maintenance award in your divorce, or if your spouse is seeking a maintenance award from you, you will need the assistance of an experienced Geneva, Illinois divorce lawyer to help you with your case.