Factors that Affect Spousal Support in Illinois

Updated on December 25, 2023
Updated: November 6, 2023

Spousal maintenance is a significant consideration in an Illinois divorce process and is distinct from child support obligations. The court considers various factors when deciding on spousal support: length of marriage, age, and health of parties, and income and earning potential.

Longer marriages usually result in higher support. If one party is older or has health problems, they may receive more support. If one party earns significantly more, they may have to pay more support.

Contact Tommalieh Law's experienced Orland Park divorce attorneys at 708-232-0017 for more information on the different types of alimony.

Factors that Affect Spousal Support Awards

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is one of the most contentious issues in divorce proceedings. The amount of spousal support awarded can have a significant impact on both spouses’ financial futures. In Illinois, several key factors affect spousal support awards.

Standard of Living

In Illinois, the previous standard of living is one of the main relevant factors that can affect a judge's decision on spousal support. This is because the court must consider what type of lifestyle each spouse had during the marriage to determine what kind of financial assistance should be given.

spousal support next to a calculator and a paper cut out of a family

If one spouse has a higher accustomed standard of living than the other during their marriage, it may be more likely that they will receive some form of spousal support.

Temporary Maintenance

Temporary maintenance is a form of alimony or spousal support paid by one spouse to the other during divorce proceedings in the state of Illinois. This type of support is designed to help the dependent spouse maintain their lifestyle and financial obligations during a certain time frame while a divorce is pending and until a permanent court order can be issued.

The amount and period of temporary maintenance awards to a recipient spouse are determined based on several factors that affect spousal support in Illinois.

FAQ: How long does it take to get spousal support in Illinois?

Domestic Duties

In Illinois, domestic duties can be a factor in determining spousal support. This includes any work that is done in the home to maintain it or to benefit the family unit. Examples of homemaking responsibilities may include childcare, housekeeping, cooking, and grocery shopping.

A court may consider the amount of time that each spouse spends performing these tasks when deciding on spousal maintenance payments in a martial settlement agreement.

Valid Agreement

In Illinois, a valid agreement such as a postnuptial agreement is an important factor that affects spousal maintenance awards. A valid agreement, or pre-nuptial agreement, is a legally binding contract between two spouses that establishes certain terms for the division of assets and liabilities in the event of either divorce or death.

spousal support written on a piece of paper on top of paperwork

The terms outlined in the agreement must be fair and reasonable to both parties and must be consistent with Illinois law. If a valid agreement is in place, the court will usually uphold it when determining spousal support awards.

Maintenance Obligations

In Illinois, maintenance obligations are a factor that affects spousal support. Maintenance is money paid by a higher-earning spouse to the other for their financial support during or after the dissolution of their marriage. The purpose of maintenance is to provide reasonable and necessary financial assistance to a spouse to enable them to meet their needs as provided under the law.

The amount and duration of spousal support are based on factors such as each party’s income, financial circumstances, financial resources, living expenses, retirement accounts, social security payments, medical conditions, training opportunities, emotional condition, earning potential, and the length of the marriage. The court will consider all of these factors when determining the marital settlement agreement amount.

Future Earning Capacity

One of the most important factors that a court considers when determining spousal support in Illinois is the future earning capacity of the parties. The purpose of spousal support is to maintain the supported spouse’s standard of living and to ensure they are not unduly burdened with financial hardships due to divorce.

Therefore, courts will look at the future earning capacity of both parties and career opportunities to determine whether one spouse should receive support and how much.

Marital Assets

Marital assets are generally considered to be any possessions or property that was acquired by a couple during their marriage. These assets can include real estate, financial accounts, investments, vehicles, and other tangible items. When a couple divorces in Illinois, the court will determine how these assets will be divided and distributed between the two parties.

an alimony payment sitting on a table

The division of marital assets such as property division is an important factor that affects spousal support awards. The court will consider the amount of assets owned by each party to determine if one spouse should receive support and, if so, how much.

Marital Misconduct

Marital misconduct can be a factor in determining spousal support in Illinois. Marital misconduct is defined as any act of one spouse against the other that is either illegal or immoral. Examples of marital misconduct may include abandonment, adultery, physical or emotional abuse, and verbal abuse.

In Illinois, courts consider the fault of either spouse in determining whether to award spousal support and how much to award. If a spouse is found guilty of marital misconduct, the court may reduce or deny any spousal support that would have been otherwise due.

Annual Income

The annual income of both the payor and recipient is a major factor that affects spousal support in Illinois. The court will look at the relative incomes of each spouse when deciding how much spousal support to award.

Read More: Our 2023 Guid to Spousal Support in Illinois

Typically, the court will review evidence of both parties' recent income, including salaries, wages, bonuses, and other forms of compensation. This includes any child support payments that may already be in place.

The court will also consider each spouse's potential to earn an income in the future. This will help the court determine whether or not one spouse should receive alimony payments from the other.

Private Income

In Illinois, the court considers the private income of both spouses when determining an appropriate spousal support amount. Private income refers to any income sources that are not related to employment, such as dividends, interest, rental property, and capital gains. If one spouse has a significantly higher private income than the other spouse, it could affect the court’s decision regarding spousal support.

an alimony payment sitting on a desk in a paperclip

The court will also consider any debts that each spouse may have, as this could affect the amount of spousal support awarded. Debts that are determined to be marital property can also be taken into consideration when determining an appropriate award amount.

Call Tommalieh Law Today and Schedule Your Free Consultation!

When it comes to spousal support in Illinois, several factors can affect the amount and duration of support. It’s important to understand these factors so that you can make sure you receive the best possible outcome from your case. To ensure this happens, it is essential to work with an experienced family law attorney who understands how these factors play into spousal support awards.

At Tommalieh Law, our experienced team of family law attorneys is here to help you every step of the way. We will thoroughly review your case and develop a strategy tailored to your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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