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Benefits of Lump Sum Spousal Maintenance vs. Monthly Support Payments

Posted on February 25, 2022 in Spousal Support

dupage county divorce lawyerWhile spousal maintenance (which is more commonly known as alimony, but may also be referred to as spousal support) is not a factor in every divorce, it may be an important issue to address in cases where one spouse earns a significantly higher income or where one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent. Spousal maintenance will only be paid if a couple agrees on this form of support in their divorce settlement or if one party demonstrates to a judge that it is necessary based on the factors outlined in Illinois law. Understanding the options for paying spousal maintenance, including making a lump sum payment or monthly support payments, can help spouses determine the best ways they can each succeed financially once their divorce has been finalized.

Options for Paying Spousal Maintenance

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to provide a person who earns a lower income with financial support that will allow them to maintain the same standard of living the couple had during their marriage. The amount that will be paid will be determined using a formula that is defined in Illinois law.

In most cases, if maintenance is appropriate, it will be paid monthly for a specific number of months. This number of months is determined based on the total amount of time that a couple was married, starting on the day of their wedding and ending on the date their divorce decree is issued. If temporary maintenance is awarded to one spouse and paid in the period between when the divorce petition was filed and when the divorce was finalized, these payments may be credited toward the total duration for which spousal maintenance will be paid.

In some cases, one or both spouses may believe that it will be preferable to pay spousal maintenance in a single lump sum following the finalization of the couple’s divorce. This amount may be calculated by taking the amount that would be paid each month and multiplying it by the total number of months that maintenance would be paid. A couple may also negotiate a different amount in their settlement based on their circumstances and needs. In some cases, a lower amount may be appropriate due to extraordinary circumstances that affect a person’s ability to pay the full amount, or the recipient may ask for a higher amount to account for the loss of ongoing, monthly support.

While paying maintenance in a lump sum may offer some benefits, such as by providing the recipient with immediate financial resources to ensure that they can find new living arrangements and properly furnish their home, it may also have some drawbacks. Paying maintenance in this manner will not account for changes that the parties may experience in the future. That is, if a person paying maintenance on a monthly basis experiences financial difficulties due to the loss of a job or health issues, they may be able to modify the amount of their monthly payments. If the recipient of monthly spousal support gets remarried, maintenance payments will be automatically terminated. Paying maintenance in advance will not account for these possibilities, and it could potentially lead to unfair or inequitable results.

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Spousal Maintenance Lawyers

If spousal maintenance is a factor in your divorce, you will want to understand your options and ensure that you take the proper steps to protect yourself financially. Farooqi & Husain Law Office can advise you of the best ways to address this issue, and we will help you determine the most financially beneficial arrangements while advocating on your behalf and helping you achieve positive results in your divorce. Contact our DuPage County spousal support attorneys at 630-909-9114 to get help with the legal and financial issues that will need to be addressed during the end of your marriage.


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