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Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support Because My Spouse Is Unemployed?

 Posted on May 20, 2024 in Spousal Support

Oakbrook Terrace, IL divorce lawyerIn divorce proceedings, the question of spousal support—often referred to as alimony—can become a significant concern, especially when one spouse is unemployed or has been a stay-at-home parent. In Illinois, the laws governing spousal support aim to ensure a fair and equitable financial situation for both parties, ensuring that they will both be able to maintain their standard of living after the end of their marriage. An experienced attorney can help you understand how these laws may apply in your specific situation, and they can help you take steps to protect your financial interests.

Understanding Spousal Support in Illinois

Spousal support is intended to provide financial support to a spouse who may be at an economic disadvantage following a divorce. If one spouse has foregone career opportunities to support the family and is not immediately able to support themselves post-divorce, they may be able to receive ongoing support payments from the other spouse.

Factors Considered in Spousal Support Decisions

When determining whether spousal support should be awarded, Illinois courts consider several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Each spouse's income and property: This includes marital property divided in the divorce and any separate property owned by either spouse.

  • The needs of each party: This involves evaluating the standard of living established during the marriage and each spouse’s financial needs.

  • Present and future earning capacity: This takes into account the age, physical and emotional health, vocational skills, employability, and the time and expense required for the party seeking support to become self-sufficient.

  • Duration of the marriage: In longer marriages where one spouse has been dependent on the other, spousal support is more likely to be awarded.

  • Contributions to the other spouse's career: If one spouse supported the other in their career or education, they may receive spousal support in recognition of these contributions.

  • Any valid agreement between the parties: Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that address spousal support will be taken into account during the divorce process.

Special Considerations for Stay-at-Home Parents and Unemployed Spouses

In cases where one spouse is a stay-at-home parent or does not work outside the home, additional considerations include:

  • Duration of unemployment: If the spouse has been out of the workforce for a significant time, the court may consider whether longer-term support will be appropriate to allow the out of work spouse to gain employment skills and eventually be able to support themselves.

  • Impact on earning capacity: The extent to which being a stay-at-home parent has affected the spouse's earning potential will be considered. A spouse may have a limited earning capacity due to a lack of work experience, and ongoing support may be necessary to ensure that they can meet their needs.

  • Child custody provisions: Decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time made during the divorce process may affect spousal support. If children will live primarily with a parent who had stayed at home to provide care during the couple’s marriage, spousal support may be necessary to ensure that they can continue serving in this role.

ContBlog Imageact Our DuPage County, IL Spousal Support Attorneys

If your spouse is a stay-at-home parent, you will need to understand the factors that will determine whether you may be required to provide them with ongoing support. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, our Oakbrook Terrace spousal maintenance lawyers can analyze your financial situation, determine eligibility for spousal support, and advocate for fair arrangements that will take your present and future needs into account. To learn more about how we can help you resolve these issues and complete your divorce successfully, contact us at 630-909-9114.

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