In almost any divorce case in Illinois, maintenance is a pressing concern for both spouses – no matter who is receiving the support. Also known as spousal support or alimony, the aim of this law is to reduce the economic impact of the split on the spouse who cannot support himself/herself on their current wages. Maintenance is supposed to help them get back on their feet post-divorce. However, it must help them maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to as well.
How a Judge Decides Whether Spousal Maintenance Is Necessary
While changes in divorce law have taken some power from the judge when it comes to calculating spousal maintenance, they still must give their verdict on whether it is necessary. Some factors they consider include the following:
- Age and needs
- Time spent on household chores
- Physical and emotional state
- Time and money needed to acquire employment or education/training to get a job
- Agreements between the spouses
- The length of the marriage
- The lifestyle during the marriage
- Earning potential
Spousal Maintenance Payment Methods
Like most states, spouses must pay maintenance on a monthly basis. In most cases, the state also issues a withholding order to the employer of the spouse who is paying, urging them to cooperate and take those payments from the employee’s wages. The amount is then deposited in the receiving spouse’s account.
The paying spouse can also make a lump sum payment if they cannot make monthly payments, but most do not opt for this option due to financial reasons. If they want to remove spousal maintenance charges, they also can liquidate or turn over personal property to their spouse.
In case the paying spouse fails to pay maintenance, the receiving spouse has the right to file a motion for enforcement against them. If the court approves it and the paying spouse is found in violation, they can face the following consequences:
- Hefty fines
- Garnishing of salary or bank account
- Additional interest
- A longer duration of support
- A jail sentence
If your spouse owes you a large amount of money in maintenance, you can ask the court to intervene for the amount owed to you. This includes interest, which can go a long way to reimburse the attorney fee you incur during the case.
Whether you are going through a divorce or want aggressive representation to ensure you get the spousal maintenance you deserve, get in touch with us at the Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C. We have been representing clients in Naperville, Illinois for decades and take time to understand each case from your personal point of view and needs. Get in touch with us for a free consultation today and find out how we can help. We also provide legal services for business and real estate.