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How Is Spousal Support Determined in Illinois?

 Posted on May 01, 2015 in Divorce

Divorce impacts most, if not all, aspects of your life. Divorcing spouses particularly feel such an impact in their finances. As a couple separates and goes through divorce, there are many financial questions that will be raised. One common financial issue in Illinois divorces relates to alimony, or spousal support. There are many considerations that will affect whether and how much alimony is paid in any given case.

Factors Affecting Spousal Support

In 2014, Governor Pat Quinn signed a sweepingalimony reform law that drastically changed how alimony payments are calculated throughout Illinois. The law, which took effect on January 1, 2015, created statutory calculation guidelines based in part on each spouse’s income and the length of the marriage.

Before the law changed, the judge in a divorce case could consider any number of factors, and make a subjective ruling on the issue of alimony. Now, state law actually lists factors that the judge must consider to determine whether alimony is appropriate in a case. These factors are:

  • Each party’s income and property holdings;
  • Each party’s financial needs;
  • Each party’s income-earning capacity;
  • If the party seeking alimony has an impairment on their income-earning capacity due to making non-monetary contributions to marriage (i.e., raising children, forgoing further education, etc.);
  • How much time and money is necessary for the alimony-seeking party to seek job training in order to be self-supportive;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • Each party’s age, and physical and emotional condition
  • The effect of tax consequences resulting from property distribution on either party;
  • Contributions made by the party seeking alimony to the other party’s education and career pursuits; and
  • Whether the parties had a previous legal agreement regarding alimony.

Beyond these factors, a judge can also consider any other relevant fact regarding alimony. If the judge decides, based on the above factors, that alimony should be awarded, he or she will then utilize the legal guidelines to calculate the actual payment amounts.

Premarital Agreements and Spousal Support

In some cases, spouses sign a premarital (also called a prenuptial) agreement before they marry. The purpose of these agreements is to resolve issues that may arise in case of divorce. Often a premarital agreement will set out exactly how alimony should be decided. Sometimes, the parties may agree that no one will receive alimony. Premarital agreements are specific to each couple, and must be valid to be legally binding. If an agreement is valid, it may be enforced in the courts. However, in some cases, a premarital agreement should not be enforced for a variety of reasons. Again, whether or not a premarital agreement will be upheld on the matter of alimony will depend on the unique facts of the case.

Contact Reputable Naperville Family Lawyers

Seeking alimony is a critical part of many divorce cases, particularly for people who have made numerous sacrifices for their family and now need the financial support to become independent. Alimony is just one issue that may arise in your divorce case. If you are considering divorce in Naperville, contact Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today. Our dedicated team of experienced lawyers has helped countless clients through divorce. Call us today at 630-961-0060 todiscuss your options.

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