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Some people receive alimony (spousal maintenance) from their exes during or after a divorce. Per Illinois Statutes Chapter 750 Families, Section 5/504 (b-1)(1)(A), the alimony amount is calculated by taking 33 1/3 percent of the payor’s net annual salary minus a quarter of the payee’s net annual salary.

As a payee, you are probably wondering whether it’s better for you to collect alimony on a monthly basis or as a lump sum. Read over the benefits both options offer.

Monthly alimony advantages

Here are some perks of receiving monthly alimony:


Does alimony last forever?

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If you were ordered to pay child support, you know that it’s probably going to last until your child turns 18 – unless there are other reasons why it should continue. But what about alimony? If you have to pay alimony to your spouse, who is already an adult, then does it just last forever?

The good news is that it does not last indefinitely. When you get divorced, the court will determine how much alimony you have to pay and for how long. There are a lot of factors that have to be considered, such as the length of the marriage, how realistic it is for your spouse to re-enter the workforce and how long that is expected to take.

How do these factors apply?

For example, if your spouse has spent the last 20 years raising the children and hasn’t worked at all, while you have earned millions of dollars per year, you could be ordered to pay a substantial amount of alimony for a significant amount of time. But if your spouse simply makes a little less than you do and you haven’t been married for very long, your obligation shouldn’t be nearly as significant – if it exists at all.


Will you pay alimony for life in Illinois?

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Alimony is one of those things you might be left to deal with after the dissolution of your marriage. If you were the higher earner in the marriage, you may have to give your ex-spouse financial support for their maintenance. It ensures that your former spouse will continue living the life they were accustomed to during the marriage.

The amount of alimony that you will be paying your spouse depends on several factors, including:

  • The length of your marriage
  • The living standards during the marriage
  • The disparity of income between you and your ex
  • Your ex-spouse's age and physical health
  • Any existing legal agreements like prenups, among others

So how long will you keep paying up?


One of the biggest areas of disagreement during divorce in Illinois has to do with alimony, or spousal maintenance. Even if a person ends up receiving spousal maintenance, a challenge may arise if the person paying the spousal maintenance suddenly gets into an accident that keeps him or her from being able to return to work, for example. A few tips may help people seeking spousal maintenance during divorce to financially protect themselves in such a situation.

If the spouse who is paying spousal maintenance is no longer able to pay it or simply decides to stop paying it, the recipient of the spousal maintenance has the right to seek relief via the court system. However, enforcement actions may cost money and take time. Fortunately, certain protections can be put into a divorce agreement for the benefit of the spousal maintenance recipient. One is a provision securing the payments by a recorded security interest against a piece of real property that the paying spouse owns. If the paying spouse does not pay on time, then the security interest could be enforced at a certain default interest rate.

The spousal maintenance recipient could also get a money judgment on any alimony arrears that have occurred in the past, and the parties could even agree to money judgments in the future to cover any unpaid maintenance obligations. The court may further hold individuals in contempt for failing to make required support payments. This might include not just adding interest to any arrears but also actually suspending the paying spouse's driver's license or incarcerating him or her. Emphasizing in the divorce agreement that each payment is enforceable by contempt gives the court more power to impose some stronger sanctions as needed.


Those engaged in divorce proceedings in Illinois and elsewhere typically seek to reach a peaceful settlement and resolve disputed matters in an amicable fashion. Nevertheless, couples sometimes face complicated issues and benefit from ongoing counsel and assistance. Illinois law states that martial property is subject to equitable property division in a divorce proceeding. This might bring about contested issues for one or both of the people involved.

Depending upon the circumstances, a court may split assets evenly between spouses who are proceeding to divorce. However, some situations might result in a different ratio, which could then lead to one of the spouses taking issue with the decision. It would be helpful to gain an understanding of the process and have an idea of what might occur before entering proceedings in civil court.

Attorneys at Fawell & Fawell, Ltd are experienced in cases involving property division during a divorce. Our legal professionals are able to assess the specifics of your case and let you know what to expect with regard to a possible court decision regarding the division of your marital assets. Terry Fawell has more than 30 years of experience and is prepared to help you negotiate a just and comprehensive outcome in your case.

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