When it comes to divorce, the process can be extremely complex and difficult to manage for all parties involved. The reason is that each state has its own set of laws and processes regarding alimony. The laws surrounding alimony in Illinois are no exception - but with a little bit of knowledge and guidance, you can better understand your rights and the legal process when it comes to spousal support.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the laws and processes of alimony in Illinois. We will cover topics such as what exactly alimony is, who can receive it, how much you may receive or pay, and how to modify an existing order. Contact a skilled Orland Park spousal support attorney today for a free consultation!
How to Seek Alimony During a Divorce
Alimony, or spousal maintenance/support, is a payment from one spouse to the other upon separation or dissolution of marriage. Depending on the extraordinary circumstances of your case, alimony may be awarded for a certain period of time in order to help provide financial security and stability throughout the transition into single life.
In Illinois, the concept of alimony is usually referred to as “maintenance” and it can be ordered by the court when one spouse lacks sufficient property or income to provide for their reasonable needs. The purpose of alimony is to provide support for a dependent spouse, who may have not worked or earned annual income during the marriage.
If a couple is facing contested issues during their divorce proceedings, they may need to seek guidance from a divorce lawyer in order to ensure that financial issues are dealt with appropriately. During divorce litigation, a family court judge may award alimony for a determined duration of spousal support based on their assessment of the couple's unique circumstances.
To ensure that both parties are happy with the alimony agreement, factors such as the dependent spouse's standard of living during the marriage, their earning potential, and the paying spouse's ability to pay may be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate alimony amounts.
Factors that Determine the Amount and Duration of Alimony
Usually, the duration and amount of alimony are determined based on several factors. This is because the court in Illinois wants to make sure that the award is fair and just for both parties. Some of the factors considered when determining alimony payments include:
- The length or duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s annual income, marital property, and assets
- Each spouse’s age, physical health, mental health, and employability
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Any contribution of a spouse as a homemaker, or in the education or career of the other spouse
- The tax consequences for each spouse
When filing for divorce, it is important to seek legal advice and consider all marital assets and liabilities in order to understand the potential spousal maintenance payments. The court will also take into account each party’s employment status, property division, and any evidence of financial misconduct during the marriage when determining the amount and duration of alimony. Ultimately, the court will strive to make a fair decision for both parties in a divorce action.
Also, note that alimony can be paid in either periodic payments (monthly or yearly maintenance) or lump sums. In Illinois, if both spouses agree on the amount and duration of alimony, then it can be ordered through an agreement without court action. If spouses cannot agree on the terms, then a motion must be filed with the court to have an alimony order entered.
In Illinois, if one spouse dies before all of their alimony has been paid, any remaining payments will typically be terminated. However, the court may order that a portion of a person’s estate be set aside in order to pay any alimony still owed.
Importantly, alimony can also be modified or terminated if there is a material change in either spouse’s condition. This could include an increase or decrease in income, one spouse’s inability to work, or any other substantial change in circumstances. In order to modify an alimony order, a motion must be filed with the court and both parties must agree on the new terms.
The court may modify the amount and duration of alimony in certain circumstances. These include when there is a significant change in either spouse’s income or assets, when there is a change in the marital misconduct of either spouse or when the paying spouse is no longer able to make payments due to disability. In any case, the court must be petitioned for modification and both parties must provide evidence to support their claim.
Types of Alimony
In Illinois, there are four types of alimony available depending on the specific circumstances of the case. These include:
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary maintenance is typically ordered during the divorce process and it can last until the divorce is finalized. The court will consider the same factors as it does when ordering permanent alimony, and it can be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in circumstances. To illustrate, if the receiving spouse gets remarried, then temporary alimony can be terminated.
Fixed-Term Spousal Support
Fixed-term alimony is a type of spousal support payment that is ordered for a specific period of time. This can be helpful if a spouse needs financial assistance for a short period of time, such as during a job search or while attending school. The amount and duration of fixed-term alimony can be negotiated by the spouses or ordered by the court. For instance, a court may order a spouse to pay $500 per month for two years.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support is a type of alimony that can be ordered if the court determines that one spouse needs financial assistance for an extended period of time. The court will consider the same factors as it does when ordering temporary alimony, but the payments are usually ordered to last until either party dies or remarries. The amount of permanent maintenance or alimony can be decided by the court or negotiated between both spouses.
This type of alimony is intended to help the receiving spouse become financially independent by providing them with resources to obtain the necessary education and training. For example, if a spouse needs to obtain a college degree, job training, or certification in order to become employable, rehabilitative maintenance can help pay for those expenses. Child custody or childcare arrangements may also be taken into consideration when awarding rehabilitative maintenance.
Call Our Orland Park Alimony Attorneys Today
Understanding alimony laws in Illinois can be complicated and it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney if you are facing a divorce. An attorney can help you understand your rights and ensure that any alimony order is fair and reasonable. They can also help you navigate the process of filing a motion to modify or terminate an existing alimony order if necessary.
At Tommalieh Law, our Orland Park alimony attorneys are dedicated to helping families reach fair and equitable outcomes in their divorce cases. We can help you understand the process of obtaining alimony and provide comprehensive legal assistance throughout the proceedings. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.