location 1580 N. Northwest Highway, Suite 12, Park Ridge, IL 60068
Facebook Linkedin
George Skuros
Free Consultations
phone 312-884-1222

Chicago Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

Park Ridge spousal maintenance attorney

Chicago Divorce Attorney for Spousal Support and Alimony in Cook County

The financial concerns of a divorce can be overwhelming as you prepare to support yourself on your own, without the contributions from your spouse that you may have grown accustomed to over the course of your marriage. A fair division of marital property can help to address your needs, but in some cases, it is not enough to provide you with the stable foundation you need to become self-sufficient. In these cases, you should consider pursuing spousal support.

At The Law Offices of George J. Skuros, we bring over 30 years of experience to our practice, and we will use our knowledge to help you assess your situation and determine whether spousal maintenance is warranted in your case. If spousal support is a possibility, whether you are the likely payer or recipient, we can work to ensure that your arrangement is fair to you.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support goes by many names, including alimony and spousal maintenance, but they all refer to the same thing: court-ordered payments made from one party to another after a divorce for the purpose of helping the receiving party provide for his or her financial needs. Unlike other aspects of the divorce process, like the division of property or the determination of child support in cases involving minor children, spousal support is not a required part of every divorce resolution. Rather, the court will determine whether maintenance is warranted after considering factors including:

  • The assets of each party, including those awarded in the distribution of property during the divorce process
  • The income, education, and earning potential of both parties, as well as the time a party would require to increase his or her earning potential
  • The age, health, and needs of both parties
  • The parties' accustomed standard of living during the marriage
  • Sacrifices made by either party to their own career in order to contribute to domestic duties or the career of the other party
  • Parental responsibilities, according to the parenting plan, that affect a party's ability to seek or maintain employment after the divorce

You and your spouse may also have some input into the decision to award spousal maintenance if you have addressed it in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or if you have reached an agreement through negotiations during an uncontested divorce process.

How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Chicago?

If the court decides to award spousal maintenance, the next step is to determine the amount and duration of payments. The amount will typically be calculated by subtracting 25 percent of the receiving spouse's annual net income from 33⅓ percent of the paying spouse's annual net income. The calculation of the duration of payments is slightly more complicated, as it considers the length of time that you and your spouse were married. For example, the usual duration of maintenance is:

  • 20 percent of the length of a marriage of under 5 years
  • 24 percent of the length of a marriage of 5 to 6 years
  • 28 percent of the length of a marriage of 6 to 7 years
  • And so on, up to a marriage of 20 years or more, in which case spousal support can last for the entire length of the marriage or indefinitely.

However, the court can issue an order that differs from these calculations based on the parties' agreement, to prevent unreasonable hardship for the paying spouse, or to provide for the extraordinary needs of the receiving spouse. In cases in which the spouses have a combined annual income of over $500,000, the court will also deviate from the calculation to reach a decision appropriate to the circumstances. Spousal support can terminate early if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabits with a new partner, or if one of the parties is successful in petitioning for a post-divorce modification.

Spousal Support FAQs


What Is Spousal Support?

Answer: Also referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance, spousal support is a legal arrangement in Illinois where one spouse provides financial support to the other during or after a divorce or legal separation. Spousal support aims to address any economic disparities between the spouses and help the recipient maintain a similar standard of living as they had during the marriage.


Is Spousal Support Taxable?

Answer: Spousal support, like child support, is not considered taxable income. The paying party must pay taxes based on their income, and they cannot deduct the amount of spousal support they pay. This makes spousal support more tax-friendly for the person receiving it, but it may also lead to the reduction of income that may be available to pay support.


How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

Answer: The duration of spousal support is determined by how long the couple was married. As a result, support may last for a certain number of years. In cases where a couple was married for at least 20 years or when there are extraordinary circumstances, spousal support may be paid indefinitely.


How Is Spousal Support Calculated?

Answer: Illinois law provides a formula that is used to calculate the amount of spousal support that one party will pay to the other. This formula determines the amount of monthly payments based on the net monthly income earned by each spouse. There is a limit on the amount of support that can be paid, and the amount of support the recipient receives plus the income they earn cannot be higher than 40 percent of the parties’ combined net monthly income.


Is Spousal Support the Same as Alimony?

Answer: Yes. Spousal support is often referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance.


How Does Spousal Support Change After Retirement?

Answer: Spousal support can potentially change after the retirement of either the payor or the recipient, but the changes will depend on the specific circumstances of the parties and the terms outlined in their divorce agreement. In Illinois, if the paying spouse retires, they may request a modification of the spousal support order based on their reduced income. The court will examine factors like the age and health of the parties, the duration of the marriage, and the financial resources available to each spouse when determining what modifications may be appropriate.


How Do You Collect Spousal Support Arrears?

Answer: To collect unpaid spousal support in Illinois, you can take legal action. The first step is to file a petition for enforcement with the court. Once the court receives the petition, it can take various actions to collect the unpaid support, such as garnishing wages, seizing assets, or placing liens on property. Additionally, the court may hold the delinquent spouse in contempt, which could result in fines or even jail time.


Can I Refuse to Pay Spousal Support?

Answer: Refusing to pay spousal support can have serious legal consequences. If you have been ordered by the court to pay spousal support, it is a legal obligation that must be fulfilled. Failure to pay can result in enforcement actions like wage garnishments, property liens, etc. If you have encountered issues that affect your ability to pay spousal support, such as the loss of a job, you can request a modification, but until changes are approved by a court, you will be required to continue making payments as originally ordered.


Does Adultery Affect Spousal Support in Illinois?

Answer: Infidelity or any other form of marital misconduct is not a direct factor the court considers when determining spousal support. However, if the adulterous activity had a financial impact on the marriage, such as the dissipation of marital assets, it could prove to be a relevant factor in determining eligibility for spousal support.


How Do You File for Spousal Support?

Answer: You may request that spousal support be paid during proceedings related to divorce or legal separation. You can provide details about your financial situation, including income, expenses, and any relevant factors that could impact the need for support. Evidence regarding your need for support may include tax returns, pay stubs, banking statements, and any other information that may provide insight into your financial situation.


What Is Spousal Support Based on?

Answer: Spousal support is based on factors including the length of the marriage, the financial needs and abilities of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and each spouse's earning capacity. The specific amount of support that will be paid is based on the income earned by both parties.


Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support?

Answer: Yes. Spousal support is a legal obligation when it is ordered by a court. If a court determines that you willfully failed to pay what spousal support as required, you may be held in contempt of court, and you could face legal penalties, including jail time.


Can I Get Spousal Support After a Divorce?

Answer: Generally, you cannot request alimony for the first time after a divorce is finalized. However, if you fought for alimony during your divorce and failed to get it, changes to your circumstances that have occurred after your divorce may allow you to seek spousal support. If you believe that you should receive spousal support after your divorce has been finalized, you can discuss this issue with your lawyer and determine how to proceed.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Spousal Support Attorney

We encourage anyone who needs legal assistance in pursuing a spousal support order to contact us at 312-884-1222 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Chicago, the North Shore, and the surrounding suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Mount Prospect, Inverness, Des Plaines, and Park Ridge.

Back to Top