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Spousal maintenance in Illinois

During a divorce proceeding in the state of Illinois, there are three types of alimony, or maintenance, that the court may consider awarding.

Several factors influence the type that may apply to a particular situation.

Temporary maintenance

Temporary maintenance only comes into play during the divorce action itself. When dissolution becomes final, the temporary award comes to an end, although either permanent maintenance or rehabilitative, periodic or reviewable maintenance may replace it.

Permanent maintenance

In the case of a long-married couple, the court may award permanent maintenance if one spouse was the homemaker while the other worked full-time, is still working and has a good income. This sort of situation is not as common as it once was, but it still may be valid for many divorcing couples. Permanent maintenance may also be an option if one spouse is unable to become self-supporting. This type of alimony is typically granted until a terminating event happens, such as the death of one spouse or the other.

The Rehabilitative, Periodic or Reviewable option

The court often awards this kind of maintenance to a spouse who left a full-time job, usually early on in a marriage, to raise the children, and now needs to reenter the workplace. Typically, the marriage is one of 10 to 20 years’ duration, and the children may still need caretaking. In this scenario, the other spouse has a job and a comfortable income.

As the name implies, periodic maintenance lasts a specified period of time. If the time limit expires, if circumstances change or if the alimony has been set to stop when a child reaches a particular age, the court may review the circumstances and maintenance either modified or terminated.

Other considerations

The judge has quite a bit of discretion in determining whether maintenance is appropriate, and how much to award. Marital misconduct is not usually a factor. Information that is relevant includes current and potential earning capacity, the needs of each spouse and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. The court typically weighs how long it will take the spouse seeking maintenance to complete any necessary education or training and find employment. If the spouses made an agreement regarding alimony, the judge will include this in the determination, as well.

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