Whether or not you will have to pay alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, to your ex-spouse after your divorce will depend on many factors. In every situation, it is decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the unique circumstances of the couple. Family courts must determine if alimony is appropriate first and then, if they decide in favor of it, they will determine how much will be paid and for how long based on state law.
The factors that the courts will look at to decide if alimony should be awarded are many. Some of these include how long the marriage endured, each spouse’s income and assets, each spouses’ needs, their ability to earn, the standard of living that was created in the marriage, contributions of each spouse to the marriage, tax considerations, and more. In some cases, such as when one party has given up a career to stay home and care for children, that spouse may need alimony for a given time period to make up the financial deficit that will occur with a divorce.
Avoiding Alimony in Illinois
Legal cases come with no guarantees so there is no assurance that your preferences will be granted when it comes to this matter. Courts are required to ensure that all aspects of the divorce are as fair as possible. However, certain actions can be taken that could favor you in avoiding alimony.
These actions can include:
- Having a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in place. As their names indicate, a prenup is an agreement that you and your intended make prior to marriage that goes into effect upon the date of the marriage. The postnuptial agreement is a similar agreement that is created after the marriage. In each case, both sides agree to how finances, assets, and debts will be handled should either party die or should the marriage end in divorce. They can also address the matter of alimony. Such agreements can help you avoid alimony when proper financial arrangements have been made through a valid, properly executed contract between you and your spouse.
- Negotiation during the settlement process in which you give certain assets to your spouse, such as real estate, a stock portfolio, or a pension in exchange for having to pay alimony. While you are losing something valuable, it may be preferable to having to make monthly payments for an extended period of time. This obviously will take thought and consideration on your part to ensure that the exchange is fair to both sides.
If you do become obligated to pay alimony, you may be able to get it modified or terminated later. This is why you should pay attention to your ex-spouse’s circumstances. If he or she remarries which involves financial support from the other party, a modification may be in order. Also, if your circumstances substantially change, such as job loss, a long-term illness or injury, or other serious financial upsets, they may justify an alimony modification.
The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. Is Here to Help
If you are facing a divorce or have need of legal help for any other family law matter in greater Chicago, we urge you to turn to the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. We thoroughly understand these matters because we deal with them on a daily basis and have gained extensive experience and knowledge. During the last decade, our firm has provided family law assistance for clients throughout the area and we pride ourselves on our thorough, sensitive, and dedicated representation.
Reach out to us at (312) 487-2795 for the legal help you need today.