When a marriage ends in divorce, couples need to try to come to an agreement as to the settlement terms. In addition to deciding the many issues regarding the children and distributing assets and debts, some spouses may also need to obtain spousal support.
Most people are very concerned about the amount of a spousal maintenance award or about how long the support obligation will last. However, the first question that must be asked is whether an award for maintenance is even appropriate.
Illinois courts have the authority to grant spousal maintenance, (alimony), to financially disadvantaged individuals when deemed appropriate. Maintenance is important because it ensures that both parties are able to maintain a secure lifestyle after the divorce.
Courts take into consideration several factors when determining the amount granted for spousal support. In this article, our Chicago Divorce Lawyers at Masters Law Group will provide insight on spousal support laws in Illinois, and steps you should take in your divorce to ensure you’re being treated fairly.
Are You Eligible to Receive Maintenance in Illinois?
Most people are very concerned about the amount of a spousal maintenance award or about how long the support obligation will last. However, the first question that must be asked is whether an award for maintenance is even appropriate. Spousal support is governed in Section 504 by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. As mentioned above, the court must determine whether they can award maintenance based on the facts of your case. Here are just a few of those factors:
- Current and future income of each party
- Current and future financial needs of each party
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Length of Marriage
- Marital agreements such as prenup or postnup
It’s important to remember that each case is different, as such the court takes a wide range of factors into consideration.
How Long Will You Receive Maintenance and How Much you Can Expect
Divorce doesn’t have to be a difficult process, but it can be made even more complicated by the way Illinois law handles maintenance.
The state of Illinois has a formula that determines the amount and duration of any maintenance award. This formula is based on the income of both spouses, as well as the length of the marriage and when divorce was filed.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, it’s important to understand these laws and what they mean for you. It is also best practice to consult a family law attorney before filing for divorce—not only will this ensure that you’re aware of your rights and responsibilities, it will also give you access to legal advice from someone who knows how things work in this state.
Modification of Maintenance in Illinois
Family law is a sensitive and complicated subject. It’s important to have the right attorney on your side, especially if you are seeking modification of a maintenance agreement. Illinois maintenance (spousal support) awards can be modified based on the following circumstances:
- If the paying-spouse’s income goes down.
- If the paying-spouse or recipient-spouse experiences a dramatic increase in their cost of living, (e.g unexpected illness or medical bills).
- If the recipient-spouse is unable to become self-supporting or experiences other financial strains beyond control.
If you ever need to make changes or update your maintenance, you can contact the trusted divorce attorneys at Masters Law Group.
How Masters Law Group Can Help
Divorces usually tend to be drawn out, especially when the parties cannot agree on how to handle issues such as child support, allocation of parenting time and responsibility, spousal maintenance, and division of assets and debts.
If you need help calculating your spousal support or need help modifying your maintenance payments, the attorneys at Masters Law Group can help.
We have a long history of legal success and know how to work with clients to get them the results they deserve. If you are wondering whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate if you divorce, or if you think it may be time to have spousal maintenance modified due to changes in circumstances do not delay. Contact us here to speak to our experienced family law attorneys about the spousal maintenance factors involved in your situation.