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Maintenance payments in Illinois

In Illinois, a person going through a divorce may have to pay maintenance, or spousal support, to their former spouse. There are several types of maintenance awards issued in the state, including temporary, rehabilitative and reviewable. Numerous factors are taken into account when the courts are determining the amount and duration of payments.

In most cases, the standard of living for both parties will be lower after the divorce. While the courts look at the standard of living prior to the separation, they also review how long the couple was married, if there is an earnings disparity between them, custody arrangements for any children, age and health of the parties and the ability of each person to acquire income and assets moving into the future.

There are several ways people can have maintenance payments terminated. Any substantial change in circumstances can result in the review and termination of payments. One example is if the recipient cohabits with another person on a continuing, conjugal basis. If employment status, earnings or child custody agreements change, people may be able to request a review of the maintenance payments. Rehabilitative maintenance expires after a set period of time, and reviewable maintenance is revisited after a set period of time to determine if changes are necessary.

When a couple decides to divorce, it is important for them to look beyond the initial division of property and child custody agreements. Maintenance payments may continue for years, so each partner has a vested interest in learning more about their rights and the law. An attorney can help answer questions and provide valuable insight regarding the nature of maintenance payments and what type of information the court will take into account when setting the amounts.

Source: American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, "Maintenance (Alimony) Issues in Illinois Divorce Proceedings", October 28, 2014

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