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Kevin O'Flaherty

If you’re researching ‘alimony in Illinois’, you’re likely seeking clarity on how spousal support is determined during a divorce. From the formula that calculates payment amounts to understanding when maintenance can change, this guide lays out essential information you need to know without unnecessary complexity. Read on to gain insights into Illinois alimony and prepare yourself for the financial aspects of your divorce.

While there have been no significant changes to Illinois alimony law for 2024, this article will provide the most up to date information on Illinois alimony and spousal support laws.

In Illinois there are five main types of alimony or spousal support; temporary, fixed-term, reviewable, permanent, and lump-sum. Learn more about each type below.

Read our recent article for a general overview of Illinois Spousal Maintenance.

Temporary Spousal Support in Illinois

Temporary spousal support or alimony in Illinois is spousal support that is aimed to get a spouse back on their feet while the divorce action is still pending in court. The temporary spousal support is aimed to cover the living costs and expenses of the spouses and is given to a spouse when they live separate and apart from their spouse during the divorce action. A spouse who wants temporary alimony must request this in the initial divorce pleading although the spouse can ask later for the temporary alimony if it is necessary, A temporary alimony award will end once the divorce is finalized.

Fixed-Term Spousal Support in Illinois

Fixed-term Spousal Support or alimony in Illinois is awarded in situations where the alimony is set for a set time frame. This is so that one spouse can allow the other spouse to become self-supporting and is appropriate in circumstances where:

  • The spouse gave up their career to take on raising children or taking care of household duties during the marriage.
  • The spouse seeking alimony gave up educational or work opportunities during the marriage because they relied upon their spouse's income
  • The spouse seeking the spousal support has a very limited earning potential and must obtain education and or training in order to maintain her accustomed standard of living once the spousal support payments discontinue.

Reviewable Spousal Support in Illinois

Reviewable Spousal Support or alimony in Illinois is similar to fixed term spousal support but it is not awarded for a specific timeframe it is awarded so that the spousal support recipient can continue to receive payments but that it is subject to periodic judicial review by the court, this type of spousal support is contingent on the receiving spouse to make a good faith effort to become independent of the payor spouse.  Reviewable spousal support is appropriate where the receiving spouse does not have a clear-cut path on becoming self-sufficient or employed, or where raising children interfere with the receiving spouse’s ability to try to obtain educational or job training without interruption.

Learn about how cohabitation can affect spousal support payments in our recent article.

Permanent Spousal Support

Permanent spousal support or alimony is permanent in nature and is financial support that is awarded for the remainder or the receiving spouse’s lifetime, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act permanent spousal support or alimony is only available in divorces involving marriages that lasted for 20 years or longer and the court in its discretion shall order permanent maintenance for a period equal to the length of marriage.

Lump Sum Alimony

Lump sum alimony in Illinois simply means a one-time payment to pay the payee spouse the amount of money needed to cover all of their alimony needs, sometimes it is in the best interest of all the parties involved to make one single payment to pay all of the alimony obligation.

Termination of Spousal Support in Illinois

Although alimony is permanent in some cases and temporary in others, there are situations where alimony will cease all together. This will happen when the spouse who receives alimony/spousal support has substantial changes in their life including the following:

  1. Gets remarried
  1. Cohabitates with a new partner
  1. Foregoes a substantial change in circumstances that was unforeseen at the initial time that the original alimony order was entered

At this point, it is up to Illinois courts to determine whether the alimony payments are to continue or if changes need to be made to the original agreement.  

For more information on terminating spousal maintenance, read our recent article.  

Factors for Determining the Duration and Amount of Alimony in Illinois

In Illinois, there are statutory guidelines that will state how much alimony a spouse will receive. An Illinois judge may depart from the traditional guidelines at the judge’s discretion if they believe it would be fair and justice would require to do so. For a more in-depth guide on calculating spousal support payments, read our article on How to Calculate Illinois Spousal Maintenance.

Below are examples of the statutory guidelines durations for alimony:

Calculating Illinois spousal support

If you or someone you know has questions about spousal support in Illinois, please give us a call at (630)-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form and a member of our team will be in touch.  

Summary

Having a thorough understanding of the intricate alimony laws in Illinois is crucial when going through a divorce to ensure that an equitable outcome is reached. This extensive guide has delved into the complexities surrounding these laws, providing a clear overview of the different types of alimony available, factors considered for determining awards, duration of payments and processes involved in modifying or terminating them. It touched upon how taxes are impacted by alimony and offered practical tips on handling negotiations and agreements.

It’s important to remember throughout your divorce proceedings that alimony laws exist to guarantee fair distribution of financial resources between you and your ex-spouse. While this may seem overwhelming at times, with adequate resources and legal support, you can effectively navigate through these complexities towards securing an arrangement that addresses both your and your ex-spouse’s financial needs fairly.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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