While 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....