Alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support, is payments that one former spouse makes to another after a divorce. In some instances, Illinois law provides for spousal support, and the courts have considerable discretion in deciding if alimony is needed, as well as the amount and duration. In this article, learn about spousal support limits, and speak to our alimony lawyers in Crystal Lake for assistance.
Illinois Spousal Support Overview
The family court will consider awarding spousal support in Illinois based on these and other factors:
- The property and income of each person
- The needs of each person
- The parties’ present and future earning capacity
- The standard of living in the marriage
- How long the marriage lasted
- Health, occupation, vocational skills, employability, liabilities, and needs of each person
- All sources of private and public income
- Tax consequences of property division
Generally, the Illinois alimony statute focuses on the length of the union and any disparity between the parties’ incomes. However, also important is what the lifestyle was in the marriage, especially in long marriages.
Alimony Limits And Duration
When the parties’ combined gross income is below $500,000, and the payor does not have previous alimony or child support obligations of a prior marriage, alimony is 33.33% of the payor’s net yearly income, subtracting 25% of the payee’s net annual income. However, the alimony payment cannot result in the payee getting more than 40% of the parties’ combined net income.
The court usually decides to award maintenance in accordance with state guidelines. If that is the case, the award will be made based on the factors listed earlier in this article. If the court deviates from the guidelines, the judge must explain why they did so. The written findings about the maintenance decision must also reference the factors the judge considered when making the decision.
The length of alimony is determined by multiplying the length of the marriage by a decimal amount in the statute. For example, suppose the marriage was less than five years. In that case, the decimal amount is .20. If it was five years or more but less than six, the amount is .24. If the marriage was 20 or more years, the court will order spousal support for a time equal to the marriage length, or indefinitely.
Types Of Spousal Support In Illinois
There are two kinds of alimony in Illinois. The first is temporary maintenance during the divorce, and the other is long-term maintenance when the divorce is final. All alimony agreements are based on one party’s need for alimony and the other’s ability to pay.
For temporary spousal support, the judge may order it when the divorce is ongoing. You can file a petition asking for maintenance and an affidavit explaining why alimony is needed. Documents may provide evidence. The court could call a hearing to go over the petition and proof.
For long-term spousal maintenance, there are three types:
- Fixed Term: The judge names a termination date when alimony payments end. After that date, that individual cannot receive alimony anymore.
- Indefinite: The judge finds that alimony is needed until it is modified or terminated because of a significant change in circumstances.
- Reviewable: The judge grants alimony for a specific time, but the court can revisit the matter anytime. It can renew, modify, or cancel alimony payments when it does.
Modifying Spousal Support In Illinois
Illinois alimony awards can be potentially modified unless there is a documented agreement between the parties that the matter should not be subject to review. However, the court will only change alimony payments if there is a significant change in circumstances for one or both parties. The judge will look at the same factors when the initial award was made and:
- An employment change of either party and whether the chances were in good faith
- The efforts of the person receiving alimony to become self-supporting
- Any current or future impairments in the earning capacity of either person
- Property that has been acquired and owned by each person
- The property each party received during the divorce
- Increase or decrease in income for either party since the original alimony order
How Is Alimony Paid In Illinois?
Most alimony awards in Illinois are paid monthly. If the payor is paying alimony and child support simultaneously, the law requires the payor to send funds to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit instead of the other party. But if the payor only has to pay alimony, the court order will state how and when the payments should be made. It is common for alimony payments to be sent to the other person directly.
Alimony And Remarriage
Alimony payments typically end when the payee remarries unless there was another agreement in the divorce decree. The paying spouse usually stops making support payments when the other party remarries. Also, the paying spouse does not need to go back to court and ask for support to be ended.
The payee must inform the payor at least 30 days before or within three days of the marriage. The payor can be reimbursed if any payments are made after the wedding. Also, the payor must still pay due amounts before the marriage date. For example, if alimony was paid as a lump sum or property transfer, the payor must still complete that transaction, even if the other party remarried.
If the paying spouse remarries in Illinois, there is not an automatic impact on their support obligations. However, the payor remarrying is a factor the judge will consider when determining if support should be continued. For instance, if a woman remarries and supports her stepchildren, the courts generally hold that she should not have to support a former husband who does not have children and can work.
Contact Our Alimony Lawyer In Crystal Lake
Determining whether and how much alimony payments will be is a challenging part of divorce. If you have questions about spousal support, please contact our alimony lawyers in Crystal Lake at Bruning & Associates at (815) 455-3000.