In Illinois divorce cases, the term “maintenance” refers to spousal support and used to be known as “alimony.” The Illinois legislature created a guiding formula to calculate a minimum amount of child support. However, the legislature did not provide such a formula for determining when maintenance should be awarded and how much the maintenance award should be.
Instead, Illinois law outlines several factors for a court to consider when awarding maintenance:
1 the income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance;
2. the needs of each party;
3. the present and future earning capacity of each party;
4. any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage;
5. the time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment;
6. the standard of living established during the marriage;
7. the duration of the marriage;
8. the age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;
9. the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
10. contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse;
11. any valid agreement of the parties; and
12. any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
There are also several Illinois cases that provide guidance on when maintenance is awarded in divorce cases. Every case is different and has unique facts that affect whether maintenance may be awarded. If you want to be awarded maintenance or if you believe that you may be ordered to pay maintenance to your spouse, you should discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney. People can also address the right to receive maintenance upon divorce in a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement.