Spousal Maintenance Attorney & Rockford Alimony Lawyer

Spousal maintenance is often highly contested in a divorce.  For lower-earning spouses (including those who may not be employed), spousal maintenance is critical, as living expenses go on long after a divorce is granted.  Conversely, higher-earning spouses will typically want to avoid or minimize maintenance payments to a former spouse.

As a Rockford spousal maintenance lawyer with decades of experience, I stand ready to help you navigate the complexities of divorce, including issues pertaining to spousal support/alimony, and complex asset division.  I represent both spouses seeking maintenance as well as spouses opposing maintenance awards throughout Northern Illinois.

I invite you to call my office today at 815-904-6246 to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can tenaciously fight to protect your rights and interests.

I also encourage you to read the following article to learn about frequently asked questions regarding the alimony and spousal support process.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance, previously referred to as alimony, is the payment for support from one ex-spouse to the other.  Maintenance is typically sought by a spouse who may have forgone a career to care for a couple’s children (or who made other career sacrifices), or who may be ill or older (and thus who may have current limited employment options).

What is the Purpose of Spousal Maintenance?

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to financially help a spouse who is not employed (or readily-employable) during divorce proceedings and after a divorce.  Typically, such payments are meant to be a “bridge” until such spouse can become employed, and to recognize (where applicable) the employment sacrifices that this spouse may have made for the betterment of the marriage and family.

How is Spousal Maintenance Determined in Illinois?

In Illinois, Spousal Maintenance is governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”). Unlike with child support, there are no set of statutory guidelines for determining whether maintenance should be granted or the amount that should be awarded.

What Factors are Considered in Spousal Support in Illinois?

Section 5/504 of the Illinois Divorce Act directs the Court to consider a set of factors in granting or denying spousal maintenance and in determining the amount.  These factors include:

  • The income and property of each spouse.
  • The standard of living that existed during the marriage.
  • How long did the marriage last?
  • Did the spouse seeking support leave the workforce and a career to care for a family (and if so, how long did this career break last)?
  • How readily-employable is the spouse seeking support?
  • Is the spouse seeking support ill or have any other conditions that would prevent re-entry into the workforce?

In short, the Court has much greater discretion in either awarding or denying spousal maintenance and in setting the amount of maintenance than the Court has with respect to child support.

Proving Your Case

Because of the degree of judicial discretion in determining maintenance, it is critical that a spouse seeking to obtain (or minimize) maintenance retain a knowledgeable, detail-oriented spousal maintenance attorney who can advocate vigorously on their behalf and make a  strong presentation for their case.  This typically entails a thorough investigation of matters such as current lifestyle and earning capacity so that such facts can be presented to the Court.

What Types of Alimony or Spousal Support May be Awarded in Illinois?

Yes. There are four types of spousal support that may be awarded in an Illinois divorce, including:

  • Temporary Spousal Maintenance. Designed to assist for a short or fixed period, temporary alimony provides short-term financial assistance (usually one or two years), which often commences during the pendency of the divorce proceedings.
  • Fixed-Term Spousal Maintenance. Fixed-term alimony, also referred to as rehabilitative spousal support, is designed to allow an individual to become self-sufficient. For example, if one spouse gave up their career to care for a child, that spouse may be granted support while they pursue education or training to make the party more marketable in the workforce.
  • Reviewable Spousal Maintenance. When an individual does not have a clear path to self-sufficiency, Illinois courts may not grant an award for a set duration. Instead, they will periodically review a spousal maintenance arrangement to determine if continued financial assistance is needed.
  • Permanent Spousal Maintenance. Permanent alimony is only available to a person who was married for twenty or more years. Permanent spousal support can be awarded for the duration of the recipient’s life.[1]

How Do Illinois Courts Determine How Long to Grant Spousal Maintenance?

When making spousal maintenance determinations, Illinois divorce courts typically adhere to the following guidelines:

  • If a marriage lasts less than five years, the duration of spouse maintenance should extend for twenty percent of the length of the marriage.
  • For each additional year of marriage (in excess of five years), the multiplier increases by four percentage points. For example, if a marriage lasted a little less than seven years, the multiplier is twenty-eight percent. For a marriage lasting ten years, the multiplier is typically forty-four percent, which is equivalent to 4.4 years of spousal support.
  • If a marriage lasts twenty or more years, Illinois spousal maintenance may be granted for the length of the marriage or for an indefinite period of time.

Can I Seek Alimony After a Divorce Has Been Granted in Illinois?

No.

Under Illinois law, if an individual waives the right to spousal maintenance in a final divorce settlement, they will be precluded from seeking and obtaining maintenance in the future.[2] Consequently, it is critical to assess long-term financial needs from the outset.

Representing the Spousal Maintenance Concerns of Clients in Rockford and The Surrounding Communities.

As a Rockford alimony lawyer, once I learn of your situation and circumstances, I can help you understand what factors argue for or against the payment of maintenance, and presenting a concise, compelling argument to the court on your behalf in seeking your objectives.

No Matter What Your Spousal Maintenance Issue Is – Schedule A Free Consultation with Experienced Rockford Alimony Attorney James Teeter.

When you are facing a divorce and your future standard of living is at stake, you need a capable attorney whom you can trust and who will fight for you when necessary concerning maintenance payments.


[1] 750 ILCS 5/501 – 802.

[2] 750 ILCS 5/457e.

Contact us today to request a consultation

Contact us