How Can a Spousal Support Order Be Modified in Illinois?

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DuPage County spousal support modification lawyerAlthough divorce is a fairly common occurrence these days, every couple’s situation is unique. In some cases, spousal support/maintenance may be awarded to one spouse. Under Illinois law, the court considers various factors when determining whether to award maintenance (also known as alimony), and the law provides guidelines for calculating the amount and duration of support payments. Orders can be modified, however, if a substantial change warrants it. To request a modification of the support amount or to ask that the payments be terminated, the individual seeking the modification must file a petition with the court where the order was originally issued.

Reasons for Modification

Family situations can change due to extenuating circumstances. According to Illinois law, there are several events that constitute an automatic spousal support order modification, including:

  • Remarriage

  • Cohabitation

  • Death

If one of the ex-spouses remarries, and his or her new partner has a job, then spousal maintenance is likely not needed anymore. These considerations may also apply if the ex is now living in the same household with a new love interest, even if the new couple has not gotten married. In the event one of the ex-spouses dies, then spousal support automatically stops. It is important to note that any maintenance payments made after one of the above events took place must be repaid to the paying party by the receiving party.

Once a motion is filed to modify an existing spousal support order, the court will hear arguments from both parties. A judge will consider the following factors in order to determine if a modification of the maintenance order is justified:

  • Change in employment status of either party (job layoff or loss)

  • Efforts of the recipient to become self-supporting (payments may be lowered if he or she is not actively looking for work)

  • A change in the earning capacity of either party

  • Tax consequences of the payments for each party

  • Duration of the maintenance payments previously paid (and still to be paid) based on how long the marriage lasted

  • Property awarded to each party in the divorce (sometimes used to reduce the amount of maintenance one spouse will receive)

  • Increase or decrease in each party’s income since the original order

  • Property acquired and currently owned by each party after the divorce

  • Any other factors the court finds equitable

It is important to note that only maintenance payments expected or due after the date of the motion to modify support may be changed, even if some payments were made after the change in circumstances occurred. This differs from the scenarios in which maintenance ceases automatically.

Contact a DuPage County Spousal Maintenance Attorney

A person’s life circumstances can change in an instant. For instance, a job loss can have a significant financial impact. This is especially true if you are a single person who recently went through a divorce. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group understands how to address changes in circumstances that may warrant modifications of existing divorce orders, and we can help you reach an outcome to your case that protects your financial security. Our seasoned Wheaton, IL divorce modification lawyers are prepared to provide you with the representation you need. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.




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