Maintenance in Illinois Divorce Cases

by George S. Frederick on Jul. 20, 2015

Divorce & Family Law Divorce Divorce & Family Law  Child Support Divorce & Family Law  Family Law 

Summary: Upon divorce in Illinois, it is possible that one spouse may be awarded, and the other spouse ordered to pay, maintenance. Maintenance is support for one spouse from the resources of the other spouse.

Upon divorce in Illinois, it is possible that one spouse may be awarded, and the other spouse ordered to pay, maintenance. Maintenance is support for one spouse from the resources of the other spouse. The issue of whether, and in what amount, maintenance may be awarded is often a critical issue for divorcing couples.

Types of Maintenance 

The most significant form of maintenance is permanent or indefinite maintenance, which is awarded when it is unlikely that a spouse will ever be able to find and secure sufficient employment from which to support themselves. A spouse may not be able to secure employment because he or she suffers from a serious illness. Or, he or she may have forgone employment or education in order to care for the home, particularly if children are involved.

Other forms of maintenance include: temporary, rehabilitative and reviewable maintenance. Temporary maintenance may be granted for the period during which the divorce proceedings are pending or until the final judgment is entered. Rehabilitative and/or reviewable maintenance may be granted to allow for a spouse to complete education that will enable the spouse to support him or herself through the securing of gainful employment.

It is important to note that divorcing couples may agree to maintenance terms as opposed to leaving the decision up to the judge. However, if the court finds the agreement unconscionable, it can order the parties to submit a revised agreement or, after a hearing, order maintenance.

Factors in Determining Maintenance 

Under Illinois law, whether maintenance is awarded depends on, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. The income and property of each party, with consideration as to how the marital property is divided;
  2. The needs of each party;
  3. The present and future earning capacity of each party;
  4. The ability of each spouse to secure regular employment;
  5. The standard of living established by the marriage;
  6. The duration of the marriage; and
  7. The age, physical, and mental condition of each party.

The court is required to state the reasons for awarding or not awarding maintenance in its ruling. For couples who have a combined gross income of less than $250,000, the court can follow specific guidelines for determining the amount of maintenance. This formula involves calculations based on the gross income of the payor (the spouse paying maintenance) and payee (the spouse receiving maintenance). The court may deviate from the guidelines, but must state the reasoning for such deviation in its ruling.

Illinois Family Law Attorneys

Maintenance can be a significant issue for couples going through the process of divorce. If you would like more information, whether you believe that you may be ordered to pay maintenance or that you should be granted maintenance, you should discuss your case with a skilled Illinois family law attorney. At MKFM Law we have a strong history of using our knowledge and experience to represent individuals involved in divorce proceedings throughout DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties. Call us today at 630-665-7300.

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