If you are considering a divorce or are already going through divorce proceedings, you may be curious as to how spousal support, sometimes called maintenance or alimony, is determined by the court. There are several factors that are considered when spousal support is established, but no single factor is determinative. Rather, the court looks at the whole picture when deciding whether spousal support is appropriate, and if so, to what degree.
Your divorce attorney in Wheaton who handles spousal support requests and modifications can help you as you consider what type of support, if any, you believe your spouse should provide, given the specific circumstances.
What Factors Do the Courts Consider When Deciding Spousal Support in Illinois?
The relevant factors the court will consider when deciding matters related to spousal support or alimony include:
- The age and health status of all parties, and whether either spouse suffers from a disability;
- The income of both spouses and whether the income is expected to remain constant in the future;
- The assets of both spouses, including marital assets and individual assets;
- The marriage length;
- Whether and to what degree the parties have the ability to earn income;
- Whether marital and parental responsibilities affect each spouse's earning potential;
- Tax considerations;
- Monetary contributions on behalf of both parties; and
- The standard of living established during the marriage to which the parties are accustomed.
The Spousal Support Formula in Illinois
Unlike some states, Illinois law does provide a formula as a guide for judges deciding spousal support issues, or for spouses and their counsel to use in negotiations. The formula is not set in stone, however. The court will consider all relevant factors when making its decision and may alter portions of the formula as it deems appropriate, or even throw out the formula altogether. If this is the case, the judge will have to write up his or her findings as to why the formula was not adequate, though.
The guidelines for support typically apply to couples whose combined gross income is less than $250,000, according to a new Illinois law that went into effect in 2015.
This is just one reason why it is crucial to work with an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer can be prepared to demonstrate to the court why the formula is the best measure of spousal support, or why the guidelines may need to be tweaked to fit your particular circumstances, especially if your divorce deals with higher-value assets and income.
Consult an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Wheaton
An experienced, passionate DuPage County family law attorney can guide you through the process of deciding whether to pursue spousal support and, if so, how much support you expect to need. Whether your divorce deals with high-value assets or more limited funds, it is still important that you take steps to protect yourself and make sure that you seek the support you need and deserve. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.