Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

How Do Divorcing Spouses Receive Alimony in Illinois?

 Posted on July 22, 2021 in Divorce

Kane County family law attorneyAlimony, technically called “spousal maintenance” in Illinois law, refers to financial support that one spouse pays the other spouse after a divorce. Temporary spousal maintenance orders called “temporary relief orders” may also be issued if a spouse requires financial support while the divorce is ongoing. Spousal maintenance or spousal support is an important source of financial assistance, especially for stay-at-home parents and spouses who have been out of the workforce for several years. There are three main legal avenues through which spousal maintenance is awarded in Illinois.

Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that spouses agree to before getting married. Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” address important financial concerns if a married couple divorces or a spouse passes away. Through a prenup, a couple can agree to a spousal maintenance arrangement in advance. This can save a great deal of time and stress during a future divorce. A postnuptial agreement is very similar to a prenup, but the couple drafts the agreement after they are already married.

Spousal Maintenance Agreements in the Divorce Settlement

Movies and television often make it seem as if most divorce cases go to trial. In reality, about 95 percent of divorces are settled before trial. Often, the spouses, or the spouses’ respective attorneys, negotiate the terms of the divorce and reach an out-of-court settlement. Whether you are the paying spouse or the recipient spouse, a skilled divorce lawyer can protect your rights and advocate on your behalf during spousal maintenance negotiations. Once you and your spouse reach an agreement on the amount, duration, and conditions of maintenance, this agreement can be written into the final divorce decree.

Spousal Support Ordered by the Court

Like with other divorce issues, if spouses cannot reach a resolution regarding spousal maintenance, the court will decide for them. A judge will evaluate each party’s arguments, examine any evidence presented during the trial, and then issue a verdict. When deciding whether to award a spouse alimony, the court will consider each spouse’s financial circumstances and employability, non-financial contributions a spouse made as a stay-at-home parent or homemaker, the couple’s standard of living, and several other factors. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments are typically decided by statutory formulas.





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