Am I entitled to spousal support in Illinois?

Finances are a common concern in an Illinois divorce and its aftermath. For spouses who were stay-at-home or made significantly less income than the other spouse, there might be a question as to whether they can get spousal support (maintenance) or not. When a case is in progress or the decision to divorce is up in the air and hindered by these financial fears, it is important to understand the law and who can get spousal support.

The court will decide the amount of time for which support will be paid. This does not consider marital misconduct when the decision is made. It can be paid through the income and property held by the other spouse. The court will assess the relevant factors when deciding if support is warranted and how much it will be. The income and property each party has will be considered. That will include marital and non-marital property that the spouse who is seeking support has and the financial obligations that the parties face after the divorce. Each party will have basic needs and these will be factored in.

Earning capacity is important. It will be assessed based on realistic issues and how much the parties currently earn and can earn in the future. If there is impairment in the earning capacity in the present and future because of attention paid to domestic duties and that having led to delaying or foregoing schooling, training, getting a job or pursuing career advancement, this is important. Should it take time for the receiving spouse to be trained, educated or gain employment and if that impacts the ability to self-support, this is key to a decision. Marriages will have a standard of living and the court will seek to maintain that standard for the prospective supported spouse.

The amount of time the couple was married will be considered. Health factors are always relevant. Property division and its tax consequences will be weighed. If the party seeking to receive support contributed to the other spouse’s education and career, this will be imperative. There might have been a premarital agreement or other negotiation – this will be considered. And any factor that the court thinks is important will be part of the process.

While amicable resolutions are possible and preferable, complex issues like spousal support can cause fervent disagreements between the parties in an Illinois divorce. Understanding how the decision is made as to whether it will be paid or not and if a person can receive it is imperative. A law firm experienced in family law issues and spousal support can help.

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