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Are You Entitled to Alimony? 14 Factors the Courts Use to Decide

 Posted on March 24, 2020 in Spousal Maintenance

Wheaton alimony lawyersSpousal support may not be awarded as often as it once was, it is still a factor in some cases. Think you might be entitled? Check out these 14 factors the courts use to decide whether or not to award alimony to a disadvantaged party and learn more about what our divorce lawyers can do to improve the outcome in your Illinois divorce case. 

1. Income and Assets of Each Party

Each party's income and assets are one of the first and biggest factors used to determine whether spousal support should be awarded in a divorce case. The courts will consider both marital and non-marital assets, as well as each party’s financial obligations. 

2. Financial Needs of Each Party

Another important factor the courts use to determine whether alimony should be awarded is the financial needs of each party. Three key components are used in this determination: the financial needs of the recipient, whether there is a gap in the recipient’s ability to meet their needs, and whether the payor is capable of supplementing that gap. Note that these needs must be legitimate; wants and luxuries are not considered. 

3. Realistic Earning Potential (Current and Future)

In determining the income and assets of each party, the courts will consider more than just your current earnings. They will also look at your future earning potential. Substantial disparities in either situation can increase your chances of receiving an alimony award. 

4. Impairment in Future Earning Potential of the Receiving Party

Parties with a disability, those who gave up a career or further education to raise a family or advance their spouse’s career, age, and other, similar factors that can impair your ability to obtain gainful employment may improve your chances of receiving an alimony award. 

5. Impairment of the Payor’s Present and Future Earning Capacity

Even if you have a solid case for alimony, you may not be awarded spousal maintenance in your divorce if there are any limitations in your spouse’s ability to meet their needs or cover the disparity in yours. Talk to your lawyer about any possible impairments in your spouse’s current or future earning capacity so they can devise a strategy for your case. 

6. Whether the Seeking Party Can Become Self-Sustaining

In addition, to determine your future earning potential, the courts will examine whether you can become self-sustaining. In short, they will consider whether you are physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of improving your financial circumstances. The courts will also consider how long it would take for you to achieve self-sustainability (i.e. the length of time it might take you to complete training or education). 

7. All Public and Private Sources of Income

It is not just employment that the courts consider. They also look at income from disability, retirement, annuities, and other private and public sources.

8. Standard of Living Established During the Marriage

Although wants are not considered in the determination for spousal support, the courts will consider the standard of living that was established during your marriage. This factor is most critical in long-term marriages and cases where a higher standard of living was established. 

9. Duration of the Marriage

The amount of time you spent married is used in both the determination of whether support should be awarded, as well as the amount of time it should be provided to the disadvantaged party. Longer marriages typically receive a longer award. 

10. Extenuating Circumstances of Each Party

Factors like age, health, station in life, education, and vocational training are considered for both parties. Many of these overlap into other factors, but some could be missed. This additional consideration helps ensure that all pain points are factored into the equation. 

11. Tax Consequences

Taxes are an inevitable part of a divorce, and the courts will consider them in determining your alimony award. Examples could include any taxes that may be owed for assets sold in the divorce, taxes on any property that you might assume after the divorce, and any penalties that may be assumed for an asset that is sold or cashed out (i.e. retirement accounts). 

12. Supporting Your Spouse for Educational or Career Advancement 

If you financially or emotionally supported your spouse while they pursued education or career advancement, it could improve your chances of receiving spousal support. This consideration may also be used when determining the amount of support you are owed. 

13. Any Existing Agreements Between the Parties

If you and your spouse made any agreements, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial, this would be considered in your determination for spousal support. 

14. Any Other Determining Factors

While it may seem impossible for there to be any missed factors, this particular consideration looks at situations that may not apply under the others. One example might be if one of the parties is already cohabitating with another person. 

How Our Wheaton Divorce Lawyers Can Help Your Case

With spousal support being awarded less frequently, it is important that you have an advocate on your side, protecting your interests in your divorce. Davi Law Group, LLC is one of the most reputable firms in the state. We can argue your case for alimony and fight for the most favorable outcome possible. Call 630-580-6373 to schedule your consultation with our DuPage County divorce lawyers today.



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