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Considering Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Your Divorce

Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerEvery divorce is completely unique in various ways, but almost all divorces come with unanticipated complications. Whether these complications include child custody, asset division, or prenuptial agreements, divorce proceedings can be long, tiring, and emotionally trying. In the vast majority of divorce cases, finances become a top priority for both parties and their legal teams, and in many cases, the biggest financial issue becomes the financial dependency of one of the spouses. 

Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) ensures that a spouse who earns less than their ex-partner does not suffer from financial problems in the aftermath of the divorce. A spousal maintenance plan requires a higher-earning spouse to make payments to their ex-spouse for a certain period of time following the divorce, allowing them to meet their financial needs until they can become self-sufficient.

How Spousal Maintenance Is Determined 


Several matters can create contention in divorce, but few can spark as much fear and emotion as spousal maintenance. On the one hand, you have a spouse that feels they are entitled to support. On the other, you have a spouse that feels they either should not or cannot pay the amount of support requested. Who is correct, and how does a judge decide? The following explains, and it provides details on how you can contest a request for spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance Basics

Despite the common misconception, alimony is not automatically awarded in divorce. Instead, it is determined by a judge. In making that decision, the judge may weigh and consider a variety of factors, including:


While not all divorces include a provision of alimony, those who are eligible may struggle with deciding whether or not they should pursue it. These feelings can arise for any number of reasons, including uncertainty over how the process works. If you are in the process of divorce and feeling conflicted about your right to alimony, the following information may be able to help.

When May Alimony Be Included in a Divorce?

Because each situation is unique, it is difficult to ascertain whether or not you may be eligible for alimony without first examining your case. However, there are some factors that may indicate that you could be eligible for spousal support in your divorce. These are the same factors that a judge might use to decide if a maintenance award would be appropriate, which may include:


Posted on in Alimony

The subject of alimony (spousal maintenance) can be a touchy one for couples entering the divorce process. It is common for a spouse to request alimony following the dissolution of marriage, but the definition and parameters of alimony can vary and are sometimes difficult to determine. This is often due to differing opinions and disagreements between spouses when it comes time to settle the details.

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to arrange and guarantee financial support for one spouse-provided by the other-to prevent any financial difficulties after the divorce. The spouse who earns less is given a monthly payment from the higher earning spouse to account for regular living expenses and necessities.

The Roles of Mediators and Attorneys


Under Illinois law, you can modify or terminate your maintenance obligation only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Additionally, the court must consider a number of different factors in determination as to whether a modification or termination of maintenance is appropriate in your case. There also a few situations in which a maintenance obligation automatically terminates without a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.

Factors to Consider in Changing or Terminating Maintenance

A court that is considering a party's request to change or terminate maintenance is required to take into account a series of factors in making its decision. These factors include the following:

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