Going through a divorce can be an extremely stressful time and may have a substantial impact on almost every aspect of your life. This is particularly true if your spouse made significantly more money than you do, or the other way around. In certain situations, people who are married agree to forgo education or career opportunities in order to support their partner or manage the household, while the other person pursues educational or financial goals.
Recognizing that a married couple often operates as a cohesive unit, Illinois law allows for former spouses to request alimony, also known as “maintenance,” in order to provide for their financial needs should their marriage come to an end. In situations where spousal maintenance is contested or is at issue, the assistance of an experienced family law attorney can be extremely helpful in ensuring that your case comes to a successful resolution.
How Do Courts Determine Maintenance?
Under Illinois law, courts do not consider marital misconduct such as infidelity when determining whether or how much maintenance to award. In addition, they have extremely wide discretion when awarding maintenance. For example, a court may award maintenance to either spouse as it “deems just,” and it may award maintenance on either a permanent or temporary basis. Some of the factors the court may consider when awarding spousal maintenance include:
- Each spouse’s relative income;
- Each spouse’s financial needs;
- The current and future potential of each spouse to earn a living;
- Any impairment to a spouse’s current and future earning potential because he or she devoted time to domestic activities or decided to forego education, employment, or career opportunities because of the marriage;
- The time necessary for the spouse seeking maintenance to make arrangements to obtain education, employment, or other training;
- Whether that spouse would have the ability to support himself or herself through potential employment or is in custody of a child making it inappropriate to seek full-time employment;
- The standard of living that each spouse enjoyed during the marriage; and
- The age, physical, and emotional condition of the parties.
There are other factors that a court may consider, and the relevant Illinois law explicitly authorizes a court to consider any other factor that it deems “just and equitable.” Since there is no specific formula for determining spousal maintenance, it is important for both the party seeking and the party challenging an award of maintenance to present their case in the best light possible. An attorney familiar with Illinois family law will be able to review the facts of your case and present the evidence in support of your position.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney Today
Whether you are the one paying or receiving, spousal support can have a significant impact on your quality of life. As a result, it is extremely important for anyone involved in a divorce in which maintenance is contested to discuss their case with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call the law office of Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. today at (877) 889-4515.