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.
Reviewable maintenance has much in common with fixed-term maintenance. Rather than lasting for a set period of time, however, reviewable maintenance continues while occasional court reviews determine whether the recipient is attempting to, or has become, self-supporting. Reviewable maintenance is often used when the recipient cannot become self-supporting yet because of substantial childcare responsibilities.
Indefinite maintenance is given at the end of a long marriage and is generally expected to last for the rest of the recipient’s life. Although spousal maintenance is always terminated if the recipient gets remarried, the assumption with indefinite maintenance is that the marriage lasted long enough that lifetime maintenance is appropriate. Indefinite maintenance is typically only given to divorcees whose marriages lasted at least 20 years.
If you are getting divorced and believe you are entitled to spousal maintenance, speak with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney with Mevorah Law Offices LLC. We work hard to make the divorce process understandable, streamlined, and tailored to your unique circumstances. Call us to schedule a free initial consultation today at 630-932-9100.
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