Types of Spousal Support
As is often the case in divorce disputes, the judge must determine whether a spouse is obligated to pay or receive spousal support. To make this determination, an Illinois divorce judge will look at the circumstances surrounding the marriage, like the parties’ professional achievements, any children they had, the length of the marriage, the income gap (if any) between the parties, the needs of each party, the standard of living during the marriage, age, sex, etc. Illinois gives judges wide latitude when it comes to determining spousal support.
For example, an advanced educational degree that one spouse earns during the marriage, enabling that party to command a higher salary, is considered to be, in part, due to the marital efforts, which entitles the other spouse to some form of compensation. Illinois has three type of spousal support.
The first type of spousal support is temporary maintenance. The judge may award temporary maintenance during the divorce proceeding, and the obligation will continue until there is a divorce decree, at which time temporary maintenance ends.
As part of any final divorce decree, a judge will make a finding as to whether either party is entitled to maintenance. A judge may award rehabilitative maintenance, which is usually a fixed amount that may either be paid right away or in periodic payments. Rehabilitative maintenance aims at enabling the maintenance recipient to earn the skills necessary to close the earning gap.
If rehabilitative maintenance is not feasible, a judge may decide to award permanent maintenance. This is usually the case in long marriages in which one spouse has acted mainly has a homemaker and the chances of developing new skills are low. As its name suggests, permanent maintenance continues in perpetuity.
Spousal support is a touchy subject that requires experienced help to ensure that the judge has a clear and objective picture of the situation. If you are facing a divorce, consult an experienced Geneva family law attorney who will make sure you will receive the representation you deserve.