Your Right to Request Temporary Spousal Support
As you may be aware, an order for spousal maintenance, or spousal support, in divorce is issued on a need-based review of each individual case. There is no presumption that one spouse or the other will be required to pay spousal support. Spousal support, though less common than in previous generations, is still awarded in many divorce cases to help alleviate the financial burden of the divorce on an economically disadvantaged spouse. Once the final divorce judgment is entered, the spousal support order becomes enforceable by law and the supporting spouse must comply or face court sanctions. But what about during the divorce? Can spousal maintenance be ordered while the proceedings are still ongoing?
The simple answer is yes. Spousal support can be ordered by the court before the final divorce judgment is entered, but the order takes a somewhat different form. The process for obtaining a temporary maintenance order is different as well.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (720 ILCS 5) provides that either party in a divorce may request temporary spousal maintenance via a motion and a financial affidavit. The affidavit is a sworn (or affirmed) statement that lays out a party’s current financial situation, including all income, debts, and expenses. When filing, the spouse must also include supporting documentation such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and others as appropriate. The court will also take into account the current arrangements regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities.
The decision to award temporary maintenance does not mean that the same decision will be made in the final divorce judgment. Permanent awards require much more in-depth analysis of the couple’s situation, and things may change dramatically between the time a temporary award is granted and the divorce judgment is entered. For example, if your spouse blindsided you with a petition for divorce, then quickly moved out, you may not have been prepared to suddenly be down to a single income. You may only require help for just a few months while you adjust to your new reality, but long-term support may not be necessary. A temporary maintenance award can help you get back on your feet, but not leave your spouse with additional, post-divorce obligations.
Penalties for Frivolous or Misleading Filing
It is extremely important not to waste court’s time with motions and affidavits that are not based in actual fact. If your sworn financial affidavit does not match up well with your supporting documentation, the court may order a hearing to find out why. When a spouse “intentionally or recklessly files an inaccurate or misleading financial affidavit, the court shall impose significant penalties and sanctions.” This means that you may be held responsible not only for court costs but for your spouse’s costs and attorney’s fees as well. At its discretion, the court may also impose additional sanctions.
Divorce Help in Kane County
If you have begun the divorce process, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced Geneva family law attorney. At our firm, we are ready and willing to assist you with every aspect of the proceedings, including motions for temporary spousal support. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.