Maintenance/Alimony Attorney in Lake County & Cook County, Illinois
Alimony, which is also referred to as maintenance, is one of the most frequently fought-over issues during the divorce process. Maintenance/alimony can easily become the most contentious topic in a divorce when the parties cannot agree on the type, amount, and duration of these payments.
As a family law attorney who understands how the legal system in Illinois works, I assist divorcing couples with all matters related to divorce, including maintenance/alimony. At Goldstein Law Office, I represent those seeking alimony payments as well as those who are ordered to financially support their spouse.
I provide comprehensive representation and legal guidance to fight for my client’s rights in Northbrook and throughout Lake and Cook counties in Illinois. My law firm also serves clients in Lake Forest, Antioch, Highland Park, Deerfield, North Chicago, Waukegan, and other parts of Illinois.
Overview of Maintenance/Alimony in Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were over 24,300 divorces in 2017. By contrast, nearly 33,800 couples got a divorce in 2011. While the number of Illinois divorces has decreased over the years, maintenance/alimony is still a big concern for those who decide to end their marriage.
Alimony, which is commonly referred to as spousal support and maintenance, is a mandatory payment made by one spouse to another during or after the divorce proceedings.
Illinois law recognizes four types of maintenance/alimony:
Temporary. Temporary maintenance is awarded to the lower-earning spouse to help them maintain their standard of living while the divorce is pending.
Fixed-term. As the name suggests, fixed-term maintenance is awarded to an economically-disadvantaged spouse for a fixed period of time. The goal of fixed-term alimony is to give the recipient spouse enough time to become financially self-supporting.
Reviewable. Reviewable maintenance means that the recipient spouse will receive alimony payments for an unspecified period of time, but the right to alimony will be subject to periodic reviews.
Permanent. Permanent maintenance is awarded to the lower-earning spouse for the rest of their life or until an event that terminates alimony occurs. Permanent alimony is available when the marriage lasts at least 20 years.
The purpose of awarding maintenance/alimony is to provide financial support to the economically-disadvantaged spouse and give that spouse the opportunity to become self-supporting and maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.
Who Is Entitled to Maintenance/Alimony?
It is a common misconception that only women may qualify for alimony. In reality, both men and women are entitled to maintenance/alimony when they are unable to meet their needs without financial support from their spouses. When spouses cannot agree upon alimony outside of court, it will be up to a judge to determine if maintenance is appropriate.
When deciding whether or not to award maintenance/alimony, courts in Illinois consider the following factors:
The duration of the marriage
Each spouse’s income and earning potential
Each spouse’s employability and financial needs
Each spouse’s property, assets, and obligations
Each spouse’s contributions made during the marriage
Whether it is possible for the economically-disadvantaged spouse to become financially self-supporting
These and other factors are evaluated by Illinois courts when determining what type of alimony/maintenance to award. If you are seeking alimony or are worried about having to financially support your spouse during or after the divorce, you must seek the assistance of a skilled maintenance/alimony attorney to talk about your case.
Determination of Type, Amount, and Duration
Illinois uses a specific formula when determining the amount of maintenance/alimony payments. Courts in Illinois calculate the yearly maintenance that should be paid from one spouse to another by subtracting 25% of the recipient spouse’s net income from 33% of the payer spouse’s net income. However, the awarded alimony amount cannot exceed more than 40% of the parties’ total net income.
When awarding maintenance/alimony, courts must also decide on the duration of the order. In other words, a judge will need to determine how long the payer spouse will pay support to the recipient spouse. In most cases, the duration of alimony depends on how long the marriage lasts. The longer the marriage lasts, the longer the recipient spouse will receive maintenance/alimony payments. However, other factors may also come into play when determining how long the payer spouse will provide financial support.
When Does Maintenance/Alimony
End and How to Modify It?
There are four circumstances that terminate maintenance/alimony orders in Illinois:
The order has expired. When alimony is ordered for a fixed period of time, it may expire after the specified period of time unless the court determines that a continuation of maintenance would be appropriate.
Cohabitation. Alimony/maintenance ends when the recipient spouse begins living with another person on a continuing and conjugal basis.
Remarriage. The remarriage of the supported spouse will also terminate the maintenance/alimony award.
Death. The death of the payer or recipient spouse will terminate alimony.
Illinois law also allows parties to request changes to the existing maintenance/alimony order. To do that, the requesting party needs to file a motion to modify with the court that issued the order. The party seeking a modification must prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the existing order was issued. The assistance of an attorney is necessary to prove that the change in circumstances warrants a modification of maintenance/alimony in your specific case.
Maintenance/Alimony Attorney in Lake County & Cook County, IL
As a knowledgeable maintenance/alimony attorney at Goldstein Law Office, I assist both potential payers and recipients of alimony. I help clients facing divorce understand their rights regarding spousal maintenance in Lake County and Cook County, Illinois. Discuss the specifics of your case by scheduling a consultation today.