DuPage County alimony lawyerIn the state of Illinois, the law calls alimony “spousal maintenance” and it could potentially be long-term if the receiving spouse is unable to make a living or if the marriage was also long-term. Despite whether or not someone feels they should have to support their spouse financially, a judge will apply the law and both parties will have to follow the guidelines in the law.  

It is possible for a couple to get divorced without involving spousal maintenance, but if a judge orders it in their particular divorce case, alimony must be a part of the conversation regarding finances during the divorce process. Because it could be a requirement in divorce proceedings, it is important to understand the four kinds of alimony. 

Temporary Alimony

A spouse who is granted temporary alimony (otherwise known as "temporary maintenance") receives money while the divorce is still proceeding. Temporary alimony is typically granted in situations when the couple has made the decision to live apart, or when the receiving spouse does not have the ability to pay for their own cost of living and attorneys’ fees, and is meant to fund the recipient's living costs throughout the divorce. While it is possible to file a request later on during the divorce process, a spouse who wants temporary alimony should include the request in his or her divorce petition. Once the divorce is finalized, all interim alimony payments cease.


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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