Maintenance (Alimony)

Maintenance formerly known as alimony and spousal support is sometimes awarded in a divorce when there is a significant disparity between the earnings of each spouse. In Illinois spousal maintenance laws were significantly revised as of January 1, 2015, with subsequent amendments.

Maintenance is not awarded in every divorce matter. Before maintenance can be calculated and awarded to a spouse, the spouse must establish that she or he is entitled to it. The right of one spouse to maintenance in a divorce is determined by factors outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/504). These factors include:

Gross income, expenses and property of each spouse;
Present and future earning capacity or each spouse;
Impediments to the earning capacity of either spouse;
Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
Length of the marriage; and
Age and health of both spouses.

Susan is experienced in dealing with all types of maintenance issues. Whether you are pursuing maintenance, defending against paying spousal support, or seeking a post-divorce modification to an existing maintenance court order, Susan can assist you in accomplishing that task.

As a result of the revisions to the spousal maintenance laws, when it is determined that a spouse is entitled to maintenance, the amount and duration of the maintenance are now calculated based on a mathematical formula that is set forth in the Illinois divorce statute. Whether Susan’s client is the supporting spouse or the supported spouse, Susan works closely with her clients to ensure that they understand the law and how it applies to their individual situation.

After spouses divorce their income may change due to employment, health, disability, retirement or other reasons. In this case, a spouse may request that the Court review previously ordered maintenance. The Court may extend maintenance for further review, extend maintenance for a fixed non-modifiable term, extend maintenance for an indefinite term, or permanently terminate maintenance.

Maintenance (and child support) can be secured during the payor’s life by the use of a collateral trust, life insurance, a life insurance trust, or by the payor’s estate. However, any obligation to pay maintenance after the payor’s death, must be unequivocally and unmistakably stated in the judgment for dissolution of marriage or the marital settlement agreement.

Maintenance is a major concern for many divorcing spouses. Maintenance can be agreed upon between the spouses or ordered by a Judge and it is not tied to any agreement regarding child support. A Judge will not consider the actions of either spouse, including marital infidelity, in determining a spousal support award. Susan is experienced in handling issues of maintenance as part of a divorce proceeding or as a post-divorce modification.