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Will You Have to Pay Alimony?

Posted in Divorce, Family Law on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

It is a myth that alimony is an aspect of divorce that is all but obsolete. Although it’s more recently referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, the paying and receiving of alimony are alive and well amongst divorced couples today.  It is just one aspect of the divorce that splitting couples will need to negotiate or have a family court judge decide for them.  

Under Illinois law, spousal maintenance is allowed, and the term alimony is not used. Generally, a judge can only award spousal maintenance for three years. If you or your spouse have recently filed for divorce or are contemplating divorce, you may be wondering if you will have to pay alimony. Either way, by hiring a devoted divorce attorney in Illinois, you can be assured that the terms of your divorce are being dealt with in the best possible way.

The Purpose of Alimony

Alimony payments are paid either in a lump sum or a continuing basis for the support of a prior spouse. The supporting spouse pays it to the dependent spouse. In general, the dependent spouse is the one who makes less money than the other spouse. Perhaps they stayed home to help raise the kids and maintain the home or did not earn a college degree due to family obligations and are in a lesser paying job. More often than not, alimony is paid by the husband to the wife, but with familial and bread-earning roles changing, it can go either way.  

When couples split, the dependent spouse often does not have the money or means to support themselves. Alimony can help with this and can be temporary or permanent depending on the circumstances and what the couple agrees upon or a judge’s orders.

Will You Have to Pay Alimony?

If your spouse makes less than you do or has stayed at home to raise your children and keep up with the household duties, you will likely have to pay alimony. However, the amount you pay and the duration that you need to pay will depend on many factors, such as:

  • The length of the marriage – Generally, the shorter the length of the marriage, the less alimony will be owed, especially on a permanent basis.
  • Each spouses’ financial resources – For example, if the spouse who would receive alimony has large amounts of funds in a savings account, the other spouse will likely not owe spousal support. If the decision comes down to the judge, they must consider the totality of the circumstances.
  • The time needed for the dependent spouse to get training or education to enter the workforce – It can be difficult for spouses to re-enter the workforce, even if they have the required education and experience. Even being out of work for a few months can impact how soon a job can be found.
  • The earning capacity of each spouse – Depending on their education and work experience, one spouse may have more earning potential than the other
  • Contributions to the marriage – Family courts do consider staying at home or raising children as a contribution toward the marriage and the household

Will You Have to Pay Alimony? Let an Experienced Illinois Divorce Lawyer Answer Your Questions

Will you have to pay alimony? This question is difficult to answer and is best discussed with a seasoned divorce attorney in Illinois. Each divorce is different with various factors to consider, and there is no blanket answer that applies to couples when it comes to spousal support. Get this pressing question answered by meeting with a lawyer.

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