Financial independence is a primary concern for people ending their marriage, particularly when one spouse supported the other financially. Perhaps you left a job to take care of your kids and home full-time, or you sacrificed your own career ambitions to support your spouse’s professional endeavors.
In these situations, you should understand the factors that will affect whether you receive financial support after a divorce in the form of maintenance.
What do the courts consider?
When someone requests maintenance (formerly known as alimony), the courts will examine several factors.
- Your financial resources – Do you have enough property or income to support yourself? If you do, then maintenance may not be necessary.
- Your ex’s financial resources – Even if you would benefit from maintenance, the courts may not award it if doing so would make it impossible for the payer to support themselves.
- Your ability to make a living – If you do not have an income, the courts will assess the time and effort it would take for you to start earning money. Do you need training? More schooling? Is meaningful employment even possible based on your age and health?
- Details of your marriage – The courts will examine information like how long your marriage lasted, what your marital lifestyle entailed and the extent to which you contributed to advancing your ex’s career.
Based on these and other relevant details, the courts will decide whether maintenance is appropriate.
Maintaining control of the outcome
It can be very stressful to leave decisions in the court’s hands, as there are no guarantees. And people have much less control when a case goes to a judge for a decision.
Thus, working out maintenance-related agreements yourselves outside of court can be preferable. You can do this by ensuring you have a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place that addresses maintenance.
Alternatively, you can resolve the issue outside of court with alternative dispute resolutions. Doing so requires parties to work together to reach agreements, which can ultimately be a more peaceful and fair way to resolve these complicated issues.
Maintenance can be a heated issue when parties divorce in Illinois. However, you can tackle this issue more easily with information about your rights and an understanding of what you can expect.