Il divorce lawyerEconomic partnership is an unromantic but critical part of marriage. The longer a couple is married, the more intertwined their finances become. Their standard of living is dependent on one another, especially if one spouse gave up career prospects to raise a family, and when one spouse earns significantly more than the other, divorce can be financially devastating.

Illinois law provides support for divorced spouses in the form of spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance. While spousal support is not awarded in every divorce, it is often given when one spouse needs time to get back on their feet financially. Sometimes a couple has been married for so long that a person’s age, lack of education, or lack of work history makes it virtually impossible for them to become financially independent. When this happens, an Illinois court may order permanent alimony.

Understanding Spousal Support in Illinois

While spouses can agree on spousal support payments in a prenuptial agreement, the most common way that spousal support is awarded is through a judge’s order. Prenuptial agreements are relatively common in Millennial marriages, but couples who have been married for two decades or more are far less likely to have a prenup. Even if a couple has a prenup expressly giving up spousal support, a significant change in circumstances, like a disability, could make the prenup’s terms so unfair that an Illinois judge could throw out the prenup and award spousal support anyway.

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