No matter how financially stable you are, divorce is a big hit to your bank account, from paying court fees to hiring business valuators. If you have children, you likely will have to add child support.

What about alimony (or spousal maintenance)? With everything else you already have to pay for, it is no wonder you feel worried about yet another expense, especially one that goes to your ex. Understanding how Illinois addresses alimony can help give you an idea of whether alimony is even a factor in your divorce.

When is spousal support necessary?

Unlike child support, alimony is not an automatic part of divorce. The judge considers numerous factors in determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate for the situation:

  • How much you and your spouse each make and other sources of income you receive
  • What each of your earning capacity and financial needs are
  • How much property you each will get in the divorce
  • What other financial obligations you each may have as a result of the split
  • How the custody arrangements affect employment opportunities and retention
  • What sacrifices your ex made, such as education, during the marriage
  • What your health is like and how old you are
  • How long the marriage lasted

Multiple other factors can come into play. The bottom line is that the judge will base the decision on what is “just and equitable” and will provide reasons for the decision.

How much are payments?

If spousal maintenance is necessary, the amount also relies on certain factors. First is if child support is mandatory. Second is the combined income of you and your ex. Third is how long the marriage lasted. The specific calculation the judge uses depends on all this information. Just know that if child and spousal support payments together end up being more than half your income, the judge can reduce the amount to be less of a financial burden on you.

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