Alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is a payment from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse during divorce or after the divorce has been finalized. There are various forms of spousal support, and these may be awarded based on the needs of the lower-earning spouse and the means of the higher-earning spouse to pay. A few examples of types of spousal support include reimbursement alimony, lump-sum alimony, rehabilitative alimony for vocational training or education, temporary alimony paid during the divorce, and permanent alimony.
In most cases, alimony is not permanent; instead, it is set for a specified length of time and, after that time period ends, the payments will cease. As a potential paying spouse or receiving spouse, you likely have questions about how the court makes a decision about alimony, or how both parties may reach a mutual decision about alimony outside of the courtroom. A skilled DuPage County spousal support attorney can provide all the details you need to know and assist you in reaching an outcome that provides for your financial needs.
How The Court Awards Alimony
According to Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/504, the following factors are used to determine whether maintenance is appropriate:
- The income and property of each party
- The needs of each party
- The future earning capacity of each party
- Any potential impairment of the spouse seeking alimony
- The time necessary for the alimony-seeking spouse to acquire training, education, employment, etc.
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The age, health, occupation, vocational skills, etc. of each party
- Other forms of income earned by each party, such as disability
- The tax consequences of alimony payments for each party
- Any contributions and services made by the spouse seeking alimony on behalf of the higher earning spouse, such as career advancement and homemaking
- Any other relevant factors
If the court determines that an alimony award is appropriate, statutory guidelines will be used to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments. The amount of payments will be based on the income earned by both parties, and the length of time payments will be made will be based on the length of the marriage. However, if the spouses earn a combined gross annual income of $500,000 or more, the court may deviate from these guidelines and award maintenance that it believes is appropriate.
Does the Spouses’ Sex Have Anything to Do With Alimony?
Alimony should never be awarded based on the sex of divorcing spouses. However, middle-aged, married men with at least a high school diploma earn, on average, over $80,000 per year. Married women of the same age earn, on average, roughly $50,000 per year, which is a 40 percent difference. As such, men are more likely to pay spousal support than women. This is a generalization, not a rule; 38 percent of wives earn more than their husbands. In these cases, alimony may be awarded to the husband.
Our DuPage County Alimony Lawyers Can Help
Spousal support is a powerful tool that can provide a lower-earning spouse with a means to education and allow them to maintain the standard of living they have grown accustomed to. On the other hand, as a paying spouse, you likely want to limit the impact that alimony payments will have on your own financial well-being. In either case, the skilled Wheaton spousal support attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can advocate for your interests and help you reach a positive outcome to your divorce. Call us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.