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How Does Spousal Maintenance Work?

Posted on in Divorce

A major concern of anyone who is considering divorce is how a divorce will impact their finances. In one way or another, people have shared finances during their marriage. They may wonder how they will afford their rent, car payment, or health care expenses without a second income. In some cases, if one spouse has given up educational or career opportunities, and relied on the career and income of the other spouse, he or she may wonder how they can afford to re-enter the workforce and pay their expenses to maintain their standard of living. Alimony, or spousal maintenance, can provide some financial stability in the wake of divorce.

What Is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance can be awarded by a court, or reached by agreement, and allows for an award of specified amounts of money to be paid from one spouse to the other. While maintenance is typically paid monthly, the maintenance can be paid in lump sum, at intervals for a specified period of time, or at intervals for an indefinite period of time.

shared finances during their marriage. They may wonder how they will afford their rent, car payment, or health care expenses without a second income. In some cases, if one spouse has given up educational or career opportunities, and relied on the career and income of the other spouse, he or she may wonder how they can afford to re-enter the workforce and pay their expenses to maintain their standard of living. Alimony, or spousal maintenance, can provide some financial stability in the wake of divorce.

What Is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance can be awarded by a court, or reached by agreement, and allows for an award of specified amounts of money to be paid from one spouse to the other. While maintenance is typically paid monthly, the maintenance can be paid in lump sum, at intervals for a specified period of time, or at intervals for an indefinite period of time.

Who Gets Spousal Maintenance?

Just because one spouse earns less than another, does not mean that he or she will be awarded spousal maintenance by the court. According to Illinois law, the court will consider a variety of factors to determine whether or not to award spousal maintenance, including:

  • The income and property of each party;
  • The needs of each party;
  • The current and future earning capacity of each party;
  • Any impairment of current or future earning capacity of one party, due to missed education, training, employment or career opportunities due to the devotion of time to domestic duties or to the marriage;
  • The time necessary for the lower earning party to acquire education, training, and employment;
  • Whether the lower earning party has the ability to support himself or herself or has custody of a child such that he or she cannot seek employment;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of each party;
  • The tax consequences of the property division on the economic circumstances of each party;
  • The contributions of each spouse to the education, training, career, career potential or license of the other spouse;
  • Any valid agreement of the parties; and
  • Any other factor that the court finds just and equitable.

In order to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, courts will not consider fault or marital misconduct. After the court determines that an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate, a maintenance formula is applied to determine the amount of the maintenance, which is based on income, as well as duration of the marriage.

Contact Our DuPage County Alimony Attorneys

If you have questions about whether spousal maintenance might be appropriate for you, our skilled DuPage County alimony attorneys at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help you understand your options. Contact our law firm for a consultation today. From our office in Wheaton, we assist clients throughout Northern Illinois.

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