2 N. Riverside Plaza,
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-897-2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815-455-3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-637-5140


2 N. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1830
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312.897.2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Ste. 900
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815.455.3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Ste. 240
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847.637.5140


7047 East Greenway Parkway
Suite 250
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Phone: 847-637-5140

Additional offices in Warrenville, Naperville, Saint Charles, and Lake Forest

Divorce and Family Law

Maintenance and Spousal Support

Maintenance, also known as alimony, is spousal support that one ex-spouse pays to the other ex-spouse. The Illinois maintenance laws (750 ILCS 5/504) contain a formula by which the number of maintenance payments is calculated, and whether the maintenance payments will be temporary maintenance or permanent maintenance. In most cases, the amount of maintenance is based on the net income of each person, and the duration of maintenance is based on the length of the marriage. Judges determine whether maintenance is appropriate based on factors including the income, education, health, needs, and earning capacities of each person.

However, beyond this basic summary of the laws, the relevant legal concepts can be complicated for the spouse who may be paying alimony and the one receiving it. The skilled divorce lawyers at Bruning & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience both prosecuting and defending claims for maintenance. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation with an Illinois maintenance and spousal support lawyer, and read on for an overview.

Types of Spousal Support in Illinois Divorce Cases

Either spouse can request alimony in connection with divorce proceedings, and the court will make a determination on the type, amount, and duration. Every case is different, but you may face issues related to:

Temporary Maintenance, Alimony, and Spousal Support

Temporary maintenance, also known as temporary alimony or temporary spousal support, is the support paid by one spouse to the other spouse during the divorce case but before the final divorce decree is entered by the court. The divorce attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. work diligently to complete your divorce case as quickly as possible.

However, some divorce cases take longer to resolve, and many cases involve a request by one of the spouses for temporary maintenance. The skilled divorce lawyers at Bruning & Associates, P.C. have substantial education, training, experience, and expertise with respect to temporary maintenance proceedings in the divorce court.

Fixed Term

This type of alimony is limited in terms of time because it is intended to allow the lower-earning party to become financially self-supporting through education, training, and employment. A judge will often be aware of fixed-term maintenance where one spouse gave up opportunities to contribute to the household or raise children.


Similar to fixed-term alimony, a court may award reviewable spousal support to enable one party to become self-sufficient; however, there is no time limitation. Instead, the judge will review the recipient’s award of maintenance on a periodic basis to assess his or her progress in earning a reasonable income.


The term is somewhat of a misnomer since even permanent alimony can be terminated. Still, a court could award it in cases where the recipient’s age, disability, or other circumstances prevent him or her from becoming self-supporting.

Bruning & Associates P.C. has extensive experience representing clients on both sides of the alimony issue. Our Illinois maintenance and spousal support attorneys will evaluate your circumstances and help you understand the factors a court reviews, and we will develop a strategy to achieve your goals.

Resolving Disputes Over Alimony

There is no doubt that spousal support can be a hotly contested issue in a divorce, as both payor and recipient have reasons to believe the arrangement is unfair. However, there are alternatives to litigation over maintenance.

Agreements for Spousal Support

You may not be able to work out a compromise when face-to-face, but negotiating through your respective attorneys might lead to an agreement. The benefits are certainly worth the effort, as you will spend less time and money going through a trial on alimony.


Parties have the option of participating in mediation to determine spousal support, and the court will likely order it in most cases. A mediation professional oversees the session, guiding the spouses and their lawyers in productive conversations about alimony. It may be possible to work out an agreement but keep in mind that mediation is not binding.

If a trial on alimony becomes necessary, our Illinois maintenance and spousal support attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. will aggressively advocate on your behalf. We will collect evidence and develop convincing arguments in support of your position.

Modifications of Maintenance

Generally, maintenance judgments can be modified if either spouse experiences a substantial change in his or her financial circumstances. In such cases, the amount of maintenance may be increased or decreased depending upon the circumstances. Maintenance modifications in most cases are effective as of the date of the filing of a motion to increase or decrease the payment amount.

To avoid overpaying or receiving less than you are entitled to, immediately contact a Bruning & Associates, P.C. divorce lawyer if your financial circumstances permit you to increase the maintenance that you receive, or if your circumstances permit you to decrease the amount you pay for maintenance.

Enforcement of Alimony Court Orders

The judge’s interim order for temporary maintenance is binding, as is the final divorce decree on spousal support. Therefore, recipients have options for enforcing the order. Violating the terms of alimony is contempt of court, so the payor could be liable for penalties and interest along with paying the amount due.

If you need assistance with enforcement, Bruning & Associates, P.C. is prepared to file the necessary documents and pursue your interests in court. Likewise, our Illinois maintenance and spousal support lawyers are ready to defend the allegations if you are accused of nonpayment. In appropriate cases, you may be able to modify alimony based upon an inability to pay.

Count on an Illinois Maintenance and Spousal Support Attorney for Advice

Bruning & Associates P.C. has offices conveniently located near you in Chicago, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake, Illinois. Please contact an Illinois maintenance and spousal support lawyer today at Bruning & Associates, P.C. to schedule your free consultation. During your meeting, you can go over all issues related to maintenance, alimony and spousal support, temporary maintenance, and alimony and spousal support modifications of maintenance.

Serving clients with respect to maintenance, alimony and spousal support, temporary maintenance, alimony, and spousal support and modifications of maintenance in northern Illinois, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, Lake County, Will County, Boone County, DeKalb County, Kendall County, LaSalle County, and Winnebago County.

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