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Illinois Alimony

Illinois laws permit a temporary or permanent alimony award if requested, and the courts will determine this on a case-by-case basis.

Marital misconduct is not considered in the alimony guidelines.

Either party may seek alimony; however, it is not guaranteed. Courts grant spousal support based on all relevant circumstances.

In Illinois, alimony may be modified or terminated when a change in circumstances warrants it. Remarriage by the recipient or conjugal cohabitation are generally reasons for termination.

Spousal support ensures that a person can maintain a standard of living. There is a calculator to determine the amount of spousal support or the duration of support after divorce, but the court considers a variety of factors, including the parties’ income and assets, needs, duration of marriage, contributions to the marriage, and prior agreements between the parties, just to name a few.

Alimony terminates at the death of either spouse or remarriage of the recipient. Support orders can be modified after a final divorce decree if the person seeking the modification can show sufficient evidence to back up their request.

The courts prefer that parties come to their own agreements on support, custody and property division matters.

Types of Alimony

In Illinois courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. This is sometimes called rehabilitative maintenance. Long-term, or permanent, alimony may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Factors Considered by the Court

In Illinois the court has the jurisdiction to determine the length of spousal support. It can be temporary or for a specific time or indefinite. The court may require that the spouse paying support provide some type of security to make sure that the support continues after their death such as making the other spouse a beneficiary on a life insurance policy.

According to Section 750 ILCS 5/501(a) of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, in awarding alimony the courts consider:

  • the income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking alimony;
  • the needs of each party;
  • the present and future earning capacity of each party;
  • any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage;
  • the time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment;
  • the standard of living established during the marriage;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the age and physical and emotional condition of both parties;
  • the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
  • contributions and services by the party seeking alimony to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse;
  • any valid agreement of the parties; and
  • any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.

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