Five Factors Assessed When Figuring Spousal Support

Five Factors Assessed When Figuring Spousal Support

Five Factors Assessed When Figuring Spousal Support

One of the most common areas that we receive questions about from clients in Illinois divorce cases is alimony and spousal maintenance. More specifically, how does a court determine the amount of alimony owed if the parties cannot agree on such terms? Illinois law contains certain guidelines that a judge must consider. While no single factor alone is dispositive, here are five of the more common things that the court will look at when figuring out an award of spousal support.

  1. Separate Property

All martial property is subject to division as part of the overall divorce proceedings. But a judge must also consider any separate, non-marital property owned by either spouse, as well as any “alleged non-marital property within access to a party.” For example, if one spouse has access to a large inheritance, that factor could weigh against them when it comes to seeking spousal maintenance.

  1. The Needs of Each Party

A court needs to consider each spouse’s needs after the divorce becomes final. This means looking at both the needs of the spouse seeking support as well as those of the spouse who would have to pay support. The judge will look at whether the payor has the financial capacity to actually supplement the recipient spouse’s income to meet their basic needs. And the recipient spouse’s needs must be genuine and not simply a demand for luxuries.

  1. The Standard of Living Established During the Marriage

Along those lines, a court will often place great weight on the standard of living established during the marriage when deciding a spousal support obligation. The longer the marriage lasts, the more this factor will come into play. At the same time, the court is not required to order an amount of support that will allow the recipient to keep the exact same standard of living after the divorce becomes final.

  1. Realistic Earning Capacity

Spousal support is often necessary when one spouse works and the other does not during the marriage. The non-working spouse may not be in a position to immediately start earning a sufficient living to support themselves and their family. The court will consider the “realistic” present and future earning capacity of the spouse who is seeking alimony. Keep in mind, however, that a party who receives alimony still has an obligation to seek and accept gainful employment.

  1. Duration of the Marriage

Finally, the length of the marriage plays a key role in spousal support cases. Indeed, in Illinois, the duration of the spousal support award is factored as a percentage of the duration of the marriage based on a sliding scale. So for marriages of less than five years, an alimony award will not last longer than 20% of the total length of the marriage. But for marriages that lasted at least 20 years, spousal support will last 100 percent of the marriage’s length or indefinitely.

Speak With a Rolling Meadows Alimony Lawyer Today

Spousal maintenance is often one of the more complicated financial issues that need to be resolved in a divorce case. The experienced Illinois divorce attorneys at the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC can provide you with professional guidance and representation in this area. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.





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