Maintenance and Property Division

Chicago Spousal Maintenance Attorney

Illinois Property Division Lawyer

Long-term spousal maintenance is awarded on a case-by-case basis. Illinois does not have a set formula or guideline in determining whether to award maintenance, and, if so, the amount and/or duration of the spousal maintenance award.  Rather, a court will consider  specific factors, such as the following when determining spousal maintenance:

  • Income and property of each party being awarded by the court
  • Present and future earning capacity of each party
  • Any impairment of present or future earning capacity due to the devotion of time to domestic duties, or a delay/relinquishment of education, training, employment or career opportunities due to the marriage
  • Time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire the necessary education and training to support himself or herself
  • Length  of the marriage
  • Standard of living experienced by the parties during the marriage
  • Age, physical and emotional health  of each party
  • Tax consequences of the property division awarded by the court.
  • Contributions and services of either spouse to the education, training, career or license of the other spouse
  • Any valid agreement between the parties, such as a prenuptial agreement
  • Any other factor that the court considers just and equitable

Long-term spousal maintenance is more likely to be awarded if one spouse is unable to earn a living, has health issues or is of an age that makes it unlikely that they can become self -supporting.  Of course, long term maintenance presumes that the party obligated to pay the support has the income and health to afford payment.  Given the right conditions, long-term spousal maintenance may be ordered for a specific period of time or indefinitely.  Regardless of the type of long-term maintenance award, unless specific provision is made in the divorce judgment, payments will terminate if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with another person in a continuing, family type relationship, or when either spouse dies.

Illinois courts are somewhat reluctant to award long-term spousal maintenance and prefer to award a disproportionate division of the marital estate  when there is sufficient property to do so.

In order to determine whether long-term spousal maintenance is appropriate in a particular divorce settlement, Chicago divorce attorney, Elliot Heidelberger will carefully examine the social and financial issues affecting the marital estate and the impact of a variety of property division and maintenance options.  Our Chicago spousal maintenance attorney has experience representing and advising clients who are seeking long-term maintenance, as well as clients who wish to contest a request for spousal maintenance.

Even when spousal maintenance is awarded the award is not always permanent. Generally, it is ordered for a period of time. That time may be followed by a review for future maintenance or it may terminate after the designated period of time. As circumstances change our attorneys may be able to obtain post-divorce modifications of alimony and spousal maintenance orders.

Since long-term maintenance is taxable income to the recipient and a tax deduction to the party paying the maintenance, careful financial planning for long-term maintenance is an absolute must. Chicago divorce attorney Elliot Heidelberger offers comprehensive tax and financial counsel throughout the divorce process so that you can calculate the potential tax impact of a long-term maintenance award.

Contact our firm at our Naperville or Hanover Park offices (847) 497-5020