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How Long Will Spousal Support Be Paid Following an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on November 09, 2022 in Illinois Family Law

dupage county divorce lawyerThere are a variety of financial factors that may play a role in a divorce, and in some cases, one spouse may be at a financial disadvantage because they earn less money or depend on the other spouse to provide for their needs. In these situations, a spouse may request support from their former partner that will allow them to meet their needs in the years following the end of their marriage. Spousal support—sometimes called "alimony"—is a payment from one ex-spouse to the other. In Illinois, spousal support may be ordered as part of a divorce judgment, or a couple may agree that spousal support will be paid when they negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement. 

In divorce cases where spousal support may be a factor, spouses are likely to have many questions. In addition to determining whether a spouse is eligible to receive support and the amount of support that will be paid, the parties will need to understand how long these payments will last. This can ensure that they will both be able to plan for how to address their needs in the future.

Duration of Spousal Support Payments

Under Illinois law, spousal support is referred to as spousal maintenance. In general, there are two categories of spousal maintenance in Illinois: temporary and permanent. Temporary maintenance may be paid during the divorce process, and it may begin after one spouse requests support and the judge issues an order for temporary relief that specifies the amount that will be paid. Once the divorce is finalized, temporary support payments will stop. 

Permanent spousal maintenance will be paid after the divorce is finalized. However, unlike the name implies, it usually will not last permanently, although there are some situations where a judge may determine that indefinite spousal support will be appropriate. Instead, spousal support will typically be paid until one of the following occurs:

  • The spouse receiving support remarries

  • The spouse receiving support begins a new romantic relationship in which they live in the same home as their partner (commonly known as cohabitation)

  • Either spouse dies 

  • A defined period of fixed-term spousal maintenance ends

  • If reviewable maintenance had been awarded, a judge determines that support is no longer necessary based on the parties' current circumstances

  • After a spouse requests a modification of spousal support, a judge determines that support is no longer necessary because the spouse receiving support has become economically self-sufficient 

In most cases, fixed-term spousal support will be awarded, and payments will last for a specified period of time. This duration is calculated using formulas defined in Illinois law, and it will depend on the actual amount of time a couple was married. In cases where a couple was married for under five years, spousal support will be paid for 20 percent of the length of their marriage. This percentage increases for every additional year a couple is married. For example, in a marriage of between five and six years marriage, maintenance will last for 24 percent of the length of the marriage, and for a marriage that lasted between six and seven years, the duration will be 28 percent of the amount of time the couple was married. These percentages reach a maximum in marriages of 20 years or more. In these cases, spousal support may be paid for 100 percent of the length of the marriage, or payments may last indefinitely.

Contact Our DuPage County Spousal Support Lawyers

While a number of factors may be considered when determining whether spousal support will be awarded in a couple's divorce, once a judge determines that support is appropriate, specific formulas will usually be used to establish the amount and duration of payments. If you are seeking spousal support during your divorce, or if you are being asked to pay support to your spouse, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Oakbrook Terrace spousal maintenance attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we will provide you with knowledgeable representation and skilled guidance throughout the divorce process, ensuring that you will have the financial resources you need to move forward after your marriage has been legally dissolved. Contact us at 630-909-9114 to set up a consultation today.


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