Can I Get Alimony After a Divorce Is Finalized?

Updated on October 13, 2021
Updated: January 18, 2023

Many divorcees find themselves in a rough place, after a hard and maybe hasty divorce. They may find themselves in a situation where they are not able to support themselves. If they have lived with their spouse for several months or decades and had put aside their dreams and their goals to take care of the home and the children it can be a hard time when divorce strikes. For some, they may have aged and they lack working experience which makes it harder to look for employment. 

If after considering all factors you have decided to proceed with the divorce you may be wondering can I get alimony after a divorce is finalized? And the answer is yes.

Getting a divorce does not mean that you need to fall into huge financial turmoil. You can ask for alimony during divorce proceedings. Alimony can allow you to live as you rebuild yourself financially.

What is Alimony?

Alimony also known as spousal support is the money given from one spouse, (Payor spouse) to another (known as payee spouse. Alimony is given after a legal separation or divorce decree. There are several types of alimony. A spouse can ask for temporary or permanent alimony.

Temporary alimony or temporary spousal support is the type of alimony in which a spouse gives financial support to the other for a specific time duration. It is temporary because it will be replaced by permanent alimony after the divorce is finalized. Several factors come into play to help determine how much child support is to be paid. Factors such as the spouse’s earnings, any deductions that are made, and how much they pay for health insurance.

alimony attorney

Permanent alimony is the type of alimony paid by the spouse making more money to the spouse making less money. It is also known as long-term life support. Permanent alimony can help the other spouse to maintain the same standard as before, which is not the case when it comes to temporary alimony which is only used to help the other partner to be able to pay for an expense such as rent, food, maintain a car. It has to be settled in court since it is long-term to ensure that the party does not default after a while.

While many think that permanent alimony lasts forever there are factors that will influence how Illinois child support payments are made. Permanent alimony can be paid for months to years or until the demise of the partner or until the party receiving alimony remarries. However, this depends on the nature of the agreement. For marriages that last ten years and below, permanent alimony will last for a shorter period of time. It can be five to ten years. While for shorter marriages of up to 2 years, permanent alimony may go up to a year to allow the spouse to get sufficient income and recover financially.

Serving Illinois: Joliet Family Lawyers

For longer marriages, alimony issue are a bit more complex. Due to a lot of time spent together a lot of things are put into consideration. Such as their current age, their health status, and how they have previously sacrificed for the sake of the marriage. The most important thing to consider is if the spouse is unable to work again due to their advanced age or sickness. Hence alimony, in this case, can last until the demise of the spouse.

Changing or Terminating Alimony

The next most important question is, can alimony be modified or terminated, and the answer is yes, alimony can be modified or terminated.

Some of the things that can be modified are;

  • The amount of money that is being given out.
  • The duration of time that is being taken,

There are two ways for you to get alimony. You and your spouse can agree on the alimony and decide on the adjustments that need to be made. After agreeing, you will then make a written agreement and finally take the issue to court and ask the judge to make the new agreement a formal order.

The other method is when you two disagree on the terms and opt to go to trial to settle the matter. One party is normally looking for there to be termination of the alimony while the other seeks to get alimony. Once a court order is given, you realize that to change anything, including termination the court has to give another order. However, if you agreed on a court order and are deemed non-terminable, this removes any right to terminate the alimony until the set time has passed. This is can only be affected by the death of the spouse who is being supported, since the spouse no longer has claim to the alimony payments. 

Factors That Determine the Termination of Alimony

There is a list of factors that come into play when terminating alimony. One of them as previously mentioned includes the death of a spouse. If the payee dies before the period of alimony is over the agreement ceases to exist.

Secondly, remarrying. If the payee is married or marries again, then it is ground to cease alimony, but a court order has to be given to allow for the ceasing of the alimony.

Financial freedom is a main factor. If the supported spouse acquires financial freedom, and it is proved in court that the payee is living well above the previous standards of living, this may act as a ground to get the case strong and terminate alimony.

The bankruptcy of the payor. If the payor spouse becomes bankrupt it makes it very difficult if not impossible for them to make payments. However, the spouse has to prove in court that he or she is unable to sustain their self to have alimony terminated. Alimony as a binding agreement can result in legal altercations if requirements are not met.

FAQ: What is the difference between Divorce & Annulment?

After a petition for divorce is made it is important to make a distinction between the marital and separate property. Most couples nowadays prefer to have separation agreement if in case they face unforeseeable circumstances such as divorce in the future. This way during division of assets marital assets and separate assets will be fairly. For some couples who agree to mediation they can get legal representation and the services of a mediator to help them draw a separation agreement or a marital-settlement agreement that is fair to both of them.

Of course this only happens if it is not a contested divorce and there are no grounds for divorce. If both parties are able to settle matters peacefully they can agree on spousal support payments, child support, and other issues. A family law lawyer will look at the final draft of the agreement and help them make it presentable before a judge.

Factors to Consider While a Case is in court

When in court the case is much different in that there are no longer negotiations among spouses on the agreement about alimony. One party tries their level best to prove the need for alimony while the other tries to prove alimony is not needful.

Every case is different. Even so there are a few factors that will affect alimony determination by the judge.

  • The ability of the dependent spouse to support themselves.
  • The financial freedom of spouses is considered starting from the payee. Can the payee be able to fend for him or herself? Can they be able to pay for rent, food and utilities in general? How has the divorce negatively affected them and what are their level and standards of living? This plays a major role in ensuring that alimony is distributed fairly. This way the payee and payor will still be able to sustain him them self, and not drastically have a change in lifestyle.

The other thing to consider is the payor’s standards of living. By understanding the payors standards of living, and if after the divorce their standards of living are likely to quickly change it makes it easier to understand the need for alimony. A bad financial situation cause emotional trauma and can result in difficulty in their personal life. It can be a challenging situation especially if the partner in question is the primary caretaker.

Learn More: Managing Finances During a Divorce

How long the couple was married depending on time spent on marriage the amount of alimony will depend on that. For spouses who have spent several decades of life together, have been each other’s support system, helped established, taken time to raise children, and spent their money in joint projects alimony for such a couple will be high compared to a couple that has been married for a short time.

The time needed for the unemployed or lower-earning spouse to get a higher income or even get an education that can help them after the marital status changes. A payee may need some time to recover or to be able to learn how to about a new business. Especially if it was not a family business. They will as well need time to learn or even re-learn a particular course to enable them to get a job in the long run if they do not have an impressive employment history after a decree of divorce is made.

alimony after a divorce is finalized

What leads to the divorce, factors such as marital misconduct in either spouse can lead can affect the spousal support award. If the divorce was filed on fault-based grounds then the payee has a legal right to a higher amount of spousal support. Especially if it caused emotional health issues such as emotional trauma. If the one filing for  the divorce is the one that has been unfaithful alimony can be denied.

Age of the parties. For young spouses, it will be easier to get back on their feet and start working. They can remarry and continue living their lives. This may not be the case for older spouses, who have invested their lives in the marriage after a petition for divorce alimony will be granted to alimony after divorce according to the alimony agreement they have.

Contact an Experience Family Law & Divorce Attorney Today

At Tommalieh Law, Family Law Attorneys we value the attorney-client relationship. If possible we advise our clients to have a settlement negotiation when filing for a divorce petition. A divorce mediation collaborative family lawyer who is as well a skilled negotiator can help you get better terms in regards to your financial circumstances, property division, and child custody. In instances where there is a history of child abuse, family violence, or irreconcilable difference you may need to proceed to trial. We are ready to go to court and represent you if the alimony arrangement is unfavorable.

Call us at (708) 232-0017 and talk to an Orland Park, IL divorce attorney about any alimony issues or alimony questions that you may have. We want to help with your alimony situation and help ensure that your alimony obligation is being met. Come to us if you want an alimony dispute resolved and let us help you get better alimony terms. We represent clients in the greater Chicago area and our office is conveniently located in Orland Hills, IL.

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