Illinois Maintenance (Alimony): The First Step

Family Law Blog

Illinois Maintenance (Alimony): The First Step

November 19, 2019 | Divorce, Property, Wealth

Illinois Maintenance (Alimony): The First Step

In Illinois, maintenance (alimony) is support one spouse pays to the other after divorce.   Generally, maintenance requires a two-part analysis by the court.  First, the court must decide whether maintenance is appropriate under the unique circumstances of the case.  If maintenance is appropriate, then the court determines how much maintenance the spouse receives per month and for how may months maintenance will be paid. This article pertains to the first part of the analysis, that is, deciding whether maintenance should be paid at all. (Click here for the second part of the analysis).

It is important to understand the purpose of maintenance before analyzing the circumstances under which it is appropriate. Essentially, the purpose of maintenance is to minimize unfair economic effects of divorce by requiring the higher wage earner to provide money to the non-wage earner or lower wage earner spouse.  For example, maintenance is widely appropriate in divorces when a spouse was a homemaker during the marriage and passed up a career. Also, maintenance is commonly awarded to maintain the standard of living attained during the marriage for each spouse after the marriage. (An example of maintenance not being appropriate: Nicholas Cage’s  ex-wife’s request for maintenance after a four-day, alcohol-infused, marriage). 

Illinois courts consider a variety of factors when determining whether maintenance is appropriate. Of import, especially when considering the purpose of maintenance, are factors such as the income of each party, the needs of each party, the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party, and the standard of living established during the marriage.  Any pre-nuptial agreement regarding maintenance would, of course, be relevant too. Once the court makes the determination that maintenance is appropriate, then it must move on to step two, that is deciding how much and for how long. 

The Botti Law Firm, P.C. has been serving DuPage and Cook County residents for nearly 50 years.  If you would like to speak to one of our experienced attorneys, please email us or call (630) 573-8585 to schedule a free consultation.  

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