Alimony, also called maintenance or spousal support in Illinois, is defined as payments that are paid in regular, cyclical installments from one ex-spouse to another. Such payments are generally associated with divorce or legal separation. As part of the divorce proceeding, the judge may determine that one party should pay the other monthly support. These payment amounts help to cover basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter and are separate from any payments you might make for child support due to circumstances of child custody. They may help the recipient become financially stable after the divorce or separation. This is especially common in cases where one party was very dependent on the other for living expenses.
How Do You Qualify for Alimony?
In Illinois, to be eligible for alimony, spouses must have been legally married. Either husband or wife can qualify for alimony. A divorcing spouse in Illinois who is not self-supporting or cannot maintain a reasonable standard of living by themselves during or after a divorce can petition to the court to receive. The court will evaluate all the factors regarding the marriage and the divorce to decides whether they should grant alimony to the petitioning spouse.
Illinois courts will only grant spousal support, or maintenance, if one spouse is unable to support him or herself. The court has discretion to award permanent support or fixed support, which expires after a certain amount of time.
How Much Alimony Can You Receive?
In Illinois, the amount of alimony depends on a list of factors that is determined by the court:
- The age, physical and emotional condition of petitioning spouse
- Earning ability of petitioner spouse
- Ability of receiving spouse to meet his or her needs
- Length of marriage
- Any domestic abuse in the relationship
- Present and future earning capacity of each spouse
In Illinois, there is no set formula when deciding alimony. The court looks at the above factors and decides the mount of alimony and the duration of alimony.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Alimony or spousal support is paid until the other spouse has a way to support himself or herself. In Illinois, courts can order temporary, short term or long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted when a spouse only needs support to live during the period between filing for divorce and dissolution. Short-term alimony is granted when a spouse wants to get an education or skills to earn a living. Permanent alimony is granted when a spouse who has significant needs and cannot support himself or herself after termination of marriage
In Illinois, alimony terminates upon death of paying spouse remarriage of the receiving party. Also if the receiving spouse is getting temporary alimony to obtain education and becomes financially self-supporting, then the alimony will terminate.
How Do You Petition for Alimony?
In Illinois, alimony is requested during the divorce proceeding. When you file for divorce, you must also petition for spousal support, maintenance or alimony. Alimony is not a given in a divorce case. Once it is requested by a spouse, the court will look at different factors to determine whether the petitioner should receive alimony as a part of the divorce.
Getting a divorce and requesting alimony can be a complicated process and you may need assistance from a experienced divorce or family lawyer. Your lawyer can help you file a request for alimony, termination of alimony, or other types of requests. A qualified attorney in your area can provide you with the legal assistance that is needed to finalize your case.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
Every state has different alimony laws. You may wish to a local Illinois family lawyer to help you file and petition for alimony or spousal support. Your attorney can explain how the laws in your state may apply to your case.