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How Long Will You Receive Spousal Maintenance After Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Barrington divorce attorney When going through a high-net-worth divorce, it is common for one spouse to have far greater financial means than the other. Even in a divorce between spouses of more modest means, one spouse may have been the primary bread-winner of the household. Spousal maintenance exists in order to help a divorcee who may be unable to support themselves or maintain their accustomed lifestyle on their own.

How long will the payments last? Illinois has guidelines and formulas that instruct courts on how to determine whether maintenance should be permanent or temporary and how long the payments should continue if they are temporary.

Temporary Maintenance

Spousal maintenance can be indefinite or temporary, depending on your financial situation and the duration of your marriage. Temporary maintenance may be for a fixed number of years or reviewable. With fixed-term maintenance, Illinois uses a scale that calculates the duration of the payments based on how many years the marriage lasted. For instance, if your marriage lasted for less than five years, the duration of the maintenance payments will be 20 percent of the number of years that you were married. After five years of marriage, the percentage will increase for each one-year interval until it reaches 20 years of marriage. You can also agree to receive maintenance in a lump sum after the divorce is completed.

Reviewable maintenance is most often used in cases of rehabilitative maintenance. You may receive maintenance on the condition that you will make a reasonable attempt to become self-supporting, which may include searching for a better-paying job or going to school for a degree or certification that will improve your job qualifications. Your maintenance agreement will set a date on which the court will review your progress towards becoming self-supporting. Your maintenance may be modified or terminated if your financial circumstances have significantly improved or you have made no effort to become self-supporting.

Permanent Maintenance

A court may grant indefinite, or permanent, maintenance if the spouses were married for at least 20 years or if the recipient cannot be expected to earn an income that could maintain their marital lifestyle. Your earning potential may be limited if you are at the age when:

  • Career advancement is unlikely before you reach retirement
  • It is unrealistic to expect you to go back to school to train yourself for a new career
  • You have physical limitations that prevent you from taking on a greater workload

Contact a Barrington, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

Spouses can negotiate their own terms for their spousal maintenance agreement, which a court will approve as long as it is deemed fair under Illinois law. An experienced Barrington divorce lawyer at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, will help you determine the amount of maintenance you will need following your divorce. If you cannot reach an agreement, we are prepared to argue the issue in court. Schedule a consultation today by calling 847-381-8700.



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