Understanding Illinois Spousal Maintenance Laws

Spousal maintenance (spousal support, alimony, etc) is a payment made by one spouse to another during or after a divorce. In Illinois, courts have the authority to award spousal maintenance to the financially-disadvantaged spouse when deemed appropriate and consistent with state law. In this article, our Chicago alimony attorneys provide a guide to the spousal support laws in Illinois. 

Are you eligible to receive Maintenance (formerly known as Alimony) in Illinois?

Spousal maintenance is governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/). As a threshold matter, the Court must first determine whether an award of maintenance is appropriate under the facts of your case. The court looks to a wide range of factors, set out under state law, when deciding whether maintenance should be awarded  including: 

  • The current and expected future income of each party; 
  • The current and expected future financial needs of each party; 
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage; 
  • The existence of any valid marital agreement (prenup or postnup); and
  • Any other factor deemed relevant to determining an equitable award.

How long will I receive maintenance and how much will I receive?

The maintenance laws in Illinois have changed dramatically in recent years. Prior to 2017, there was no clear guidance on how much a person would receive for maintenance nor for how long. Under current Illinois law, and with a few exceptions, the majority of maintenance cases will fall under the maintenance guidelines with regard to the amount and duration of any maintenance award.

The amount of maintenance will be determined by a formula which considers the income of both spouses. The length of any maintenance award will depend on the length of the marriage as of the date of the filing of the petition for divorce. In the case of a longer term marriage, the date of filing is crucial and can be the difference between a maintenance award for a specified term or a permanent maintenance award.

Speak to Our Illinois Spousal Maintenance Lawyers Today

At Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, our Chicago family lawyers have the skills and experience to handle the full spectrum of spousal maintenance cases. If you have any questions about your legal rights or your legal responsibilities, we are here to be your resource. Call us now or connect with us online to arrange your strictly confidential case evaluation. We represent clients throughout Northern Illinois, including in Chicago, Evanston, Oak Park, Wheaton, and Glenview. 

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