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Posted on in Divorce

Schaumburg Divorce Attorney

When two people get married, their financial situations change. The same is true in divorce. In Illinois, spouses who earn less money typically receive spousal maintenance (formerly known as spousal support or alimony). Here is a look at how spousal maintenance is calculated.

What Is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance protects the individual in the marriage who makes less money and who would, therefore, be at an economic disadvantage in divorce. For example, one spouse may have stopped working to raise the family while the other maintained a high-paying career. Maintenance is meant to maintain the standard of living for both former partners. 

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Changes to Illinois’ Spousal Maintenance Laws in 2018

Barrington alimony lawyerWhen a married couple dissolves their marriage through divorce, they should both be able to continue living at a standard that is similar to what they enjoyed while they were married. Unfortunately, some spouses do not have the financial resources that will allow them to do so, perhaps because they earn less than their former partner, because their family obligations prevent them from working a full-time job, or because they passed up job opportunities during their marriage while supporting their spouse’s career advancement. 

In cases when a spouse is at a financial disadvantage following divorce, they may be able to receive spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) from their former spouse, especially if they made sacrifices to their own earning ability during their marriage or contributed to the education and training that allowed their former partner to increase the income they earn. However, divorcing spouses should be sure they understand recent changes to the law that affect spousal maintenance awards.

Updated Maintenance Laws in Illinois

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Understanding the Factors That Affect Spousal Maintenance

Schaumburg spousal maintenance divorce lawyerWhen a couple ends their marriage in divorce, each spouse should be able to maintain a standard of living similar to what they experienced during their marriage. When one spouse earns more than the other, the lower earning spouse may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance (also known as spousal support or alimony).

While the formula for determining the amount and duration of maintenance is straightforward, courts have some discretion when determining whether maintenance is appropriate. 

Illinois statutes list 14 factors that a judge should consider when deciding whether to grant maintenance:

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