In 2019, Illinois modified the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and changed the way that spousal maintenance (previously known as “alimony”) is handled in Illinois divorces. Spousal maintenance is not intended to punish or reward either spouse. Rather, it is ordered by a court for a period of time in recognition of the fact that the receiving spouse may be left in a disastrous financial situation after the divorce because he or she often gave up a career and other personal opportunities to care for a family. There are now four main kinds of spousal maintenance that can be ordered by an Illinois court.
Temporary Maintenance is allocated to spouses for a brief period of time while the divorce is ongoing. Because a homemaker may have no financial resources of their own to pay for a divorce attorney, spousal maintenance may be necessary to provide for expenses while the divorce is taking place. Individuals who anticipate needing temporary spousal maintenance can include a request in their initial divorce filing.
Fixed-term maintenance is ordered for a set period of time so that the recipient can become self-supporting after a divorce. Fixed-term maintenance is common for homemakers or spouses who gave up career advancement or education to care for children or take care of the home. The spouse who receives fixed-term maintenance will generally have a limited ability to earn an income and needs education or skills training to maintain the marital standard of living....