Alimony Laws in Illinois

by Elizabeth Stock
Following a divorce, you may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance.

Following a divorce, you may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Alimony, or spousal maintenance as it is called in Illinois, refers to monthly support from one spouse to the other following a divorce. There are several different types of spousal maintenance available in Illinois. If you remarry or if one of the spouses die, spousal maintenance automatically terminates. The court may also terminate spousal maintenance if you live with another person in a marriage-like relationship.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Determining Factors

The Illinois court has flexibility when determining whether to award spousal maintenance. The court will consider several factors when deciding whether spousal maintenance is necessary. For example, the court will consider the age and health of the parties, as well as the earning capacity of both spouses. The most significant factor regarding whether you will be eligible to receive spousal maintenance is the length of the marriage. Generally, the longer you were married, the more likely it is that the court will award spousal maintenance.

Permanent Maintenance

Rarely, a court in Illinois will award one spouse permanent maintenance. Permanent maintenance lasts indefinitely until one spouse dies. An Illinois court will usually only award permanent maintenance if you were married to your spouse for a significant period of time and a disability or medical condition prevents you from working. The court has the authority to establish factors that will trigger a revaluation of the award of permanent maintenance such as an improvement in your medical condition.

Temporary Maintenance

Between the time you file for divorce and when the divorce becomes final, the court may award you temporary spousal maintenance. Temporary maintenance can provide you with support until you determine what assets you will receive following the divorce and whether the court will award child support. In essence, temporary maintenance allows you to maintain your living standard until the divorce becomes final.

Rehabilitative/Reviewable Maintenance

The court may also choose to award you rehabilitative or reviewable maintenance. Rehabilitative maintenance is awarded to provide the receiving spouse an opportunity to transition back into the workforce. For example, rehabilitative maintenance may be ordered while you complete an educational program or finish an internship. Similar to rehabilitative maintenance, reviewable maintenance is issued for a specified period of time, like 6 months to a few years; then the court re-evaluates whether the award is still necessary. If you become self-supporting at the end of the defined period, the court has the option to modify or cancel the maintenance award.