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Understanding the Factors That Affect Spousal Maintenance

Posted on in Divorce

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:

1. The income and property of each party - The court will determine both spouses’ net income by calculating gross income from sources including wages or salary, disability benefits, retirement benefits, social security benefits, insurance proceeds, interest earned, and monetary gifts, then deducting expenses including taxes, social security payments, prior support or maintenance obligations, union dues, and medical expenses.

2. The needs of each party - The court will look at the living situation of both spouses, determining whether one spouse requires maintenance to maintain their standard of living and whether the other spouse has the ability to pay maintenance.

3. The present and future earning capacity of each party - Will the spouse seeking maintenance be able to earn a wage that supports the standard of living he or she enjoyed during the marriage?

4. Reduction in earning capacity - Did the spouse seeking maintenance forego education, training, or employment opportunities to pursue domestic duties? 

5. Impairment of earning capacity - Is there anything that affects the ability of the spouse against whom maintenance is being sought to earn an income in the present or the future?

6. Time needed to train - Does the spouse seeking maintenance need time to pursue training or education that will help him or her reach an earning capacity that will allow the spouse to maintain his or her previous standard of living?

7. The standard of living during the marriage - Courts will try to ensure that both spouses maintain a similar standard of living which is as close as possible to what they enjoyed during their marriage. The spouse seeking maintenance will need to show the standard of living during the marriage and prove that the other spouse can afford maintenance payments.

8. The duration of the marriage - The exact length of the marriage is a primary factor in determining the amount and duration of maintenance payments.

9. The age and health of both parties - Does either spouse have a mental or physical disability which affects his or her ability to earn an income and maintain his or her standard of living?

10. Each party’s sources of income - Does either spouse have any other income sources not mentioned above?

11. The tax consequences of property division - The division of marital assets during the divorce can result in tax deductions, credits, or penalties, and courts may decide to grant one spouse certain assets rather than awarding maintenance.

12. Contributions to the education and career of the other spouse - Did the spouse seeking maintenance make personal or career sacrifices to allow the other spouse to receive training or education?

13. Any valid agreements between the parties - The court will consider whether any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the spouses are applicable to maintenance.

14. Any other applicable factors - Are there any other just and equitable factors which may affect the spouses’ earning capacity or standard of living?

Contact an Arlington Heights Divorce Lawyer

The compassionate, experienced family law attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand these factors and determine whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance in your divorce. Contact a Schaumburg divorce attorney today at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.



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