Am I Entitled to Receive Spousal Support?

If you are thinking about filing for divorce or know that your spouse will be filing soon, you are likely thinking about the financial aspects of the divorce and whether spousal maintenance will come into play in your divorce case. In particular, when one of the spouses was the primary earner during the marriage, the other spouse likely is concerned about whether he or she will be eligible to receive spousal support. We want to say more about how the court determines whether one spouse is entitled to receive spousal maintenance payments from the other spouse as part of a divorce proceeding.

Requesting Spousal Maintenance

Are you entitled to receive spousal support? The answer to that question depends upon a few different factors. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a spouse can seek spousal maintenance in any of the following situations connected to separation, divorce, and other ways of dissolving a legal relationship:

  • Proceeding for dissolution of marriage (divorce);
  • Legal separation;
  • Declaration for invalidity of marriage; and/or
  • Dissolution of a civil union.

Assuming that you are seeking a legal separation, a divorce, a declaration for invalidity of marriage (i.e., an annulment), or a dissolution of your civil union, you may be eligible to seek spousal maintenance. The next step is for the court to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate.

Entitlement to Spousal Maintenance Under Illinois Law 

Once you know that you may be eligible to have the court award maintenance based on the type of family law proceeding, the next step involves the court deciding whether a maintenance award is appropriate. In making a finding about whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, the court does not consider marital misconduct. Rather, it can consider all relevant factors, which may include some of the following, according to the statute:

  • Income and assets of the parties;
  • Marital and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking spousal maintenance;
  • Financial obligations of each party as a result of the divorce;
  • Needs of each party;
  • Each party’s earning capacity now and in the future;
  • If the party seeking spousal maintenance spent on domestic duties during the marriage or missed out on an education, training, employment, or other career opportunities for the benefit or sake of the marriage;
  • Present and future earning capacity of each party;
  • Amount of time the party seeking maintenance would need to acquire the education, training, and/or employment necessary to support himself or herself;
  • Effect of arrangements under a parenting plan or allocation judgment on the party seeking support to obtain and maintain employment;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Age of the parties;
  • Health of the parties;
  • Occupation of each of the parties;
  • Tax consequences to both parties of spousal maintenance; and
  • Valid agreement existing between the parties concerning spousal maintenance.

If the court determines that maintenance is appropriate, it can order for it to be paid either from the income or property of the payor spouse (the spouse making the maintenance payments to the other spouse).

Contact a Spousal Maintenance Lawyer in Chicago

If you have questions about seeking alimony or whether you are entitled to receive support, a Chicago spousal maintenance lawyer can help. Contact Arami Law today to learn more

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