If you have been considering filing for divorce, you probably have many questions and concerns. One such question may be “Will I have to make support payments to my ex-spouse?” Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, helps limit the negative financial effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. In the past, payments were almost always made by an ex-husband to his ex-wife. Today, both men and women are recipients of support and both men and women may be required to pay it. Spousal support can be based on a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement or a court decision.
How Is Alimony Awarded?
Courts have the authority to make decisions about spousal support during a divorce. A judge will look at several factors in order to determine what the fairest arrangement would be. When making decisions about spousal support courts must consider:
- Both individuals’ age, physical condition, and emotional health;
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage;
- The spouses’ assets (including non-marital property) and income;
- The present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
- The length of time the recipient of spousal support would need to become self-sufficient;
- The ability of the paying spouse to pay support payments;
- Any impairment to the earning capacity of the spouse requesting support due to time spent raising children or maintaining the shared home; and
- Contributions that a spouse made to the other spouse’s education or career.
Alimony or spousal support is intended to be rehabilitative and it is usually meant to help the recipient spouse to become financially self-supporting.
It is important to note that spousal support is not always awarded in Illinois. In some cases, both spouses are capable of providing for their own support and there is no need for support payments to be made to either spouse. If there is a marked difference in income between the two spouses, courts may choose to account for the difference by awarding more of the marital property to the lower-earning spouse in lieu of ongoing payments.
Are You Considering Divorce?
If you are starting the divorce process, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of decisions you are facing. Divorce can be a complicated process emotionally as well as logistically and financially. Fortunately, our skilled Kane County divorce attorneys are ready to assist you. We can help you find the answers you need, and we will work with you to create a plan which meets your needs and protects your rights. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free initial consultation.