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When Is Spousal Support Appropriate in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

McHenry County divorce lawyerMovies and pop culture would have you believe that spousal support is almost always granted to one spouse—usually the wife—during a divorce. However, this is not always the case. There are many divorce cases in Illinois where maintenance is deemed unnecessary for a variety of reasons. If you are in the process of getting divorced, it is important that you understand the reality surrounding spousal support as it is handled under Illinois law. 

Factors Considered in Awarding Spousal Support in Illinois

Illinois law encourages divorcing spouses to reach their own agreement regarding all of the issues of their divorce, including arrangements for spousal support, whenever possible. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, the matter will be left up to the court to decide.

In order to determine whether support is appropriate or not, a court must consider a list of many different factors. Some of the relevant considerations include:

  • The income and assets of each party. As one might expect, maintenance will not be awarded to a spouse who makes a higher salary than his or her ex, or who has more assets at his or her disposal.

  • The future earning capacity of each spouse. A spouse with little work experience or education may be more likely to receive support.

  • The duration of the marriage. A very short marriage is less likely to result in an award of support.

  • The existence of any child support obligations, as well as obligations for support from a previous marriage.

  • The standard of living enjoyed by both spouses during the marriage.

There are many other factors that an Illinois court will consider, but the most important are those that directly pertain to the income and earning capacity of each spouse, as well as the standard of living to which they are accustomed. 

A Note on Gender Roles and Spousal Maintenance

It is important to note that despite historical bias toward wives receiving spousal support, Illinois courts are increasingly bucking this trend. There is nothing codified in Illinois law that states that husbands may not receive maintenance, and indeed, more courts are ordering it if the husband is the party in the marriage who has fewer assets and/or a lower salary, or is disabled or otherwise unable to earn as much as his former spouse in the future. 

Historically, wives were often in the position of staying at home with the children, so in the event of a divorce, they were less likely to have skills necessary to hold a job. In today’s world, the participation of the genders in the workforce is equalizing, and as such, Illinois courts are much more likely to award maintenance to a husband than they once would have been. Pride may stop some men from requesting maintenance, but by law, they are entitled to it if a judge holds that all relevant factors warrant an award.

Contact A McHenry County Family Law Attorney

Maintenance law is complex, and lawmakers are continually updating the statutes to keep up with the changing times. With this in mind, you may have many questions about whether to expect to pay or receive spousal support in your divorce. Contact an experienced Crystal Lake divorce lawyer to discuss your unique situation today. Call 815-338-3838 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC today. We will help you find the answers you need and work with you in getting the outcome that you deserve.  




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