When a marriage ends in Illinois, the court may order one spouse to pay the other spouse alimony. Also called spousal support or maintenance, these payments ease the financial burden of establishing a separate household.
Review the factors that determine spousal maintenance awards in Illinois.
Types of alimony
Illinois recognizes temporary, permanent and rehabilitative alimony. Permanent spousal support may apply if one spouse cannot work because of illness, disability or age. Temporary support includes payments from the separation until the judge finalizes the divorce order.
Rehabilitative maintenance allows a lower-earning spouse to pursue job training or education. The Illinois court may order short-term or long-term alimony of this kind depending on the couple’s financial circumstances and the recipient’s career goals and income prospects. Some alimony orders are open but subject to periodic review.
Factors in alimony determinations
When an individual asks the court for alimony in a divorce, the judge will consider:
- Whether the couple has a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that establishes spousal support
- The couple’s property division agreement and its tax impact on each person
- Whether either spouse contributed to the other’s education
- The income, health and age of each person
- How long the marriage lasted and the standard of living during that time
- Each person’s current and future projected earning capacity and financial need
- Whether either person has barriers to returning to the workforce such as caring for young children or coping with a chronic illness
The court can also consider any other relevant factors when deciding whether and how to award spousal maintenance.