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DuPage County family law attorneys, alimony in IllinoisIn Illinois, when a couple divorces and one spouse is left economically disadvantaged, a judge may award that spouse maintenance, otherwise known as alimony. The length and amount of alimony depends on a number of factors dictated by law, and depending on the facts of the marriage, a judge can award different types of alimony to a spouse.

Illinois Alimony Law

Under 750 ILCS 5/ the Illinois legislature defined what types of alimony payments are available during and after a divorce. The law provides for temporary maintenance during the course of the divorce proceedings. In addition, a judge can award rehabilitative alimony, reviewable maintenance, or permanent alimony to a spouse after the divorce is finalized.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, entitled to spousal supportSpousal support is one of the biggest issues in a divorce. Also referred to as alimony or maintenance, spousal support requires that one former spouse continues to financially support the other former spouse for a period of time or permanently. There are several different types of maintenance that can be agreed upon or ordered by court. However, it must first be determined whether either spouse is entitled to receive support from the other.

Temporary Spousal Support 

During the course of divorce proceedings, one spouse can receive temporary maintenance from the other. This temporary alimony has no effect on whether permanent spousal support will be awarded at the end of the divorce, but it can serve to help provide for the lesser earning spouse while the divorce is ongoing. Typically, temporary alimony begins when one spouse files for divorce and it ends when the divorce is finalized. 

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The Impact of Infidelity on Alimony in Illinois

One of the most hotly contested aspects of divorce proceedings is alimony, also known as spousal support. The process of coming to an agreement on how much, if anything, one spouse must pay the other spouse following divorce forces spouses to examine their respective contributions to the marriage.

With two-earner households as the norm, the process of teasing out how much each spouse contributed, both financially and through their responsibilities in the home, can be intensely complicated. Throw in sacrifices made by one spouse to support the wellbeing of the whole family, such as working two jobs to put the other spouse through school or training, and the balance required by alimony becomes even harder to strike.

Alimony is a device used under Illinois law to ensure that when spouses part ways, they are on relatively equal ground financially. Because marriage is a joint venture, in which couples share the burden of financial hardship and the benefit of economic success, the end of a marriage is viewed by judges as an opportunity to ensure that fairness is achieved through the process.

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Spousal Support After a Divorce

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is intended to provide a financial cushion for divorced spouses who find themselves at a financial disadvantage after the end of the marriage, often because they declined to further pursue their education or career in order to care for the family. As traditional gender roles shift, it is increasingly common for ex-husbands to turn to the court to require their ex-wives to pay them spousal support. Although women, in general, still earn less than men in this country, many wives contribute significantly or solely to the family’s finances.

The Process of Deciding on Alimony Amounts

Some former spouses are able to come to an agreement about the amount of alimony that the more financially advantaged spouse will provide to the other spouse, either independently or with the help of a divorce lawyer.

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spousal support payments, Illinois divorce attorneyIf you are currently making spousal support payments, filing for bankruptcy does not terminate your obligation. Unlike credit card debt and mortgage payments, which may be put on hold or eliminated completely through bankruptcy, your responsibility to provide for your former spouse and your children remains in place regardless of your financial circumstances.

However, you may be able to have your required payment amount reduced to accommodate your altered means. If you need to have your alimony requirement altered, speak with a trusted divorce attorney about how to complete the modification process.

Filing for Bankruptcy with an Alimony Requirement

If your personal debt reaches the point where it is so great that you can not meet your repayment obligations, you may be able to file for bankruptcy. Individuals with outstanding personal debt are eligible to file for two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

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