When you are going through a divorce, there will almost certainly be a large number of decisions to make. If your divorce is more amicable, you and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement on many issues. If not, however, the court will be required to decide on concerns such as property division, parental responsibilities, and parenting time. Spousal maintenance, on the other hand, typically requires a request by one spouse or the other, and the court is bound by law to consider certain factors. Understanding what those factors are can be very important to a spouse who is thinking about seeking a spousal support award.
Purpose of Maintenance
Spousal maintenance is intended to help alleviate the negative financial impact of a divorce to a particular spouse. In many marital relationships, one spouse is economically dependent upon the other spouse, either by mutual agreement or due to circumstances beyond the couple’s control. If you are the dependent spouse, you probably realize that divorce presents a rather frightening predicament. Becoming self-sufficient can be incredibly difficult and, in some cases, nearly impossible, especially if you are intending to remain the primary caregiver for your children. It is for situations like these that spousal maintenance was intended, and the law in Illinois sets forth a number of considerations that will help the court determine your needs.
The judge presiding over your divorce case is granted full discretion to decide if a spousal support award is appropriate for your case. When you request maintenance, the court will take into account:
- The income and assets of you and your spouse, including those allocated during the divorce;
- Your needs and those of your spouse;
- The present and future earning capacity of both parties;
- Any impairment to your earning capacity due to your role in the marriage and family;
- Any impairment to your spouse’s earning capacity;
- Your contributions toward your spouse’s earning capacity;
- The time necessary for you to acquire the necessary skills and employment to become independent, or whether such an objective is reasonably possible;
- The duration of the marriage and the standard of living established;
- The age, health, occupation, and skills of you and your spouse; and
- Any other factors found to be relevant.
Based on these considerations, the court will make a decision on whether maintenance is appropriate. Regardless of which way he or she decides, the judge must state the reasons for the ruling, including references to the appropriate factors. If maintenance is awarded, the law also includes a calculation method for determining the amount to be paid and for how long the payments will continue.
Seek Legal Counsel
Divorce, with all of its associated concerns, can be overwhelming at times, but an experienced Orland Park family law attorney can help you navigate the process. For more information about spousal maintenance in Illinois, contact the team at Kezy & Associates today. We will review your case and assist you in making the best decisions for yourself and for your family. Call 708-518-8200 to schedule a free consultation today.