The Ins and Outs of Alimony

Posted on in Alimony/Spousal Support

dupage county divorce lawyerDivorce is a complicated affair and often involves addressing a range of emotional and financial concerns, including alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Alimony is one of the most contentious issues during divorce since a spouse may be unwilling and unhappy about making payments to their ex-husband or ex-wife. However, there are several situations where alimony is necessary, and divorcing couples need to understand how alimony laws apply to their specific case.

Who Can Recieve Alimony? 

Divorcing spouses can negotiate the terms of alimony and reach their own agreement regarding the duration and amount of alimony to be paid. Alternatively, a spouse can petition the court for a sposual maintenance award. If the decision is left up to the court, the court will consider the following factors when deciding whether alimony is appropriate in a divorce case: 

  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of the receiving spouse


DuPage County divorce attorney spousal supportIf you have kids from a prior marriage, then you know that the divorce proceedings are hardly the last time you will hear from your former spouse. There are all sorts of things that you two must continue to work through, especially if your children are under the age of 18, including child supportparenting timeparental responsibilitiesspousal support, and much more. But how will this change if you decide to remarry? Will your new spouse be responsible for any of the parental responsibilities or child support? How will spousal support change? While at one time there was a clear-cut answer to all of these questions, in recent years, there is much more gray area when making some of these determinations in Illinois. The following is a look at how remarriage can change things after your divorce.

Remarriage and Its Impact on Divorce Obligations

With regards to spousal maintenance, the following is true in Illinois:


Wheaton, IL spousal maintenance attorneyWhen you get divorced, you may be at a financial disadvantage, especially if you have been a stay-at-home parent or have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time. Fortunately, you may be able to receive spousal maintenance that will allow you to continue living at the standard you have come to expect during your marriage. One of the facets of spousal support that deserves special attention is reentry into the workforce. If you believe that you need education and/or training before you can begin working and supporting yourself, it is completely acceptable and reasonable to ask for financial assistance to help address these needs.

Reasons to Ask for Education Assistance Following Divorce

There are many reasons to ask that education assistance be included as part of a spousal support award. These include:

  • Self-Sufficiency—If you get the training and education you need to land a well-paying job, you will be on your way to being able to support yourself in a way that might not have been possible during your marriage. This will not just be for your benefit; if your ex-spouse contributes to your professional growth and assists you in becoming self-sufficient, you may no longer need to receive financial support.


Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerOn January 1, 2019, a provision of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect that will impact divorce cases going forward. This law eliminated the tax deduction for spousal support in divorces finalized on or after that date. The effects of this change to the law are still being felt, and many long-term results have yet to be seen. In many cases, it has required people on both sides of a divorce involving spousal maintenance to be more savvy and resourceful when it comes to reaching a settlement.

How Has the New Law Affected Taxes on Spousal Maintenance?

For many years, maintenance (which is also referred to as spousal support or alimony) was taxed as follows:

  • The spouse paying maintenance would be able to deduct the amount of support payments from his or her taxable income.
  • The spouse receiving maintenance would pay income taxes on the support payments.

Under the new law, there is no tax deduction for the payor of spousal support and no tax on these payments for the recipient. However, this change only applies to divorces that were completed after December 31, 2018. For divorces finalized on or before that date, spousal maintenance will continue to be taxed as it had been previously. In other words, the new law taxes spousal support payments in divorces completed in 2019 or later the same as child support payments.


DuPage County spousal maintenance attorneyIn Illinois, there are a variety of factors that are considered when determining whether to award spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support). However, it is important to understand that there are different types of spousal support, and the type of maintenance awarded may play a role in determining how to proceed if your or your ex-spouse’s situation changes following your divorce. Here are some guidelines to follow so that you know what to expect if you are ever faced with spousal support dilemmas:

The Types of Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

There are three types of spousal support that may be awarded in an Illinois divorce case:

  1. Fixed-term maintenance—In these cases, the court will designate an end date on which spousal support payments will be terminated. This means that maintenance will be expected to be paid throughout the term, but once the term ends, the spouse providing support will no longer be obligated to offer any additional support.


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