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How maintenance is determined in Illinois

How maintenance is determined in Illinois

can sometimes cause future financial havoc, especially for spouses in Illinois who have not worked outside the home or only part-time in order to raise a family. In such cases, spouses may be able to petition for and receive maintenance payments from their ex.

Maintenance Options

In Illinois, spousal maintenance can be granted in a few different ways according to state statutes. Some of the available options and benefits include the following:

  • Receive monthly payments for an extended period of time until remarriage or death – this would help the spouse and dependents for a longer period of time.
  • Receive a larger temporary spousal maintenance in exchange for property transfers – this may be beneficial in helping the spouse until he or she can get back on their feet with a higher paying job or more benefits.
  • Receive one lump sum of money or property – this is preferable if the spouse would like to just get everything taken care of at once. Spouses would not need to worry about claiming maintenance as income on their tax returns each year.
  • The judge could deem it necessary for a spouse to receive maintenance in order to further his or her education to reenter the job market.

In some cases, spouses may be able to negotiate for a specific type of maintenance in their divorce settlement without a judge having to get too involved. Spouses seeking maintenance from their ex should honestly examine their current and future financial needs to ensure that they receive the support needed.

The Court’s role

If the division of property is to be decided by an Illinois family law court, the judge will look at several factors to determine if a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance and how much support the spouse is eligible for. These factors include both spouses’ property and income, each spouse’s current and future earning power, length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the spouse’s health condition and age.

While maintenance is not awarded until the divorce proceedings are completed, a judge may decide to issue funds to the receiving spouse during the divorce process. This occurred in one case when a judge determined that a wife made more money than her husband. While the wife had custody of their daughter, she was ordered to make payments to her husband before the divorce was finalized.

Dealing with maintenance issues can be complicated. Therefore, people may want to meet with an attorney who can help them understand what their rights are and what, if any, spousal maintenance they may be able to make a claim to.

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