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Factors that determine spousal maintenance in Illinois

When a couple gets a divorce, one party may receive alimony from the other. Alimony is typically awarded to help one spouse maintain a previous standard of living until he or she is able to find work and support him or herself. There are a variety of factors that a court will take into consideration when determining how much alimony to award.

One of the main factors for spousal maintenance eligibility that the court will look at is whether the couple had children. In many cases, a custodial parent may receive alimony to help pay for the added expenses of caring for that child on a daily basis. Other factors include how long the marriage lasted, the earning disparity between the two parties and whether one spouse left the workforce during the marriage.

The age and the health of both parties will also be taken into account when granting an alimony award. Courts also look at the ability of an individual's ability to earn money or maintain the lifestyle that they were accustomed to during the marriage. While an older spouse who may not be able to work may be eligible for permanent alimony, not all orders are permanent. Some orders may be temporary or may be reviewed by a judge to determine if the order should be modified or terminated.

In a divorce case, one spouse may willingly provide support or provide support based on a judge's order. Those who are seeking spousal maintenance may wish to consult with a family law attorney. Anyone who is looking to modify or terminate an order of support may also benefit from the advice of an attorney. That attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable spousal maintenance order or could ask a judge to make a favorable ruling for his or her client.

Source: aamlillinois.org, "Maintenance (Alimony) Issues in Illinois Divorce Proceedings", September 22, 2014

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