HomeBlogChild CustodyInsight into Maintenance (formerly known as Alimony or Spousal Support) in Chicago Divorce Cases and Long-Term Marriages

Insight into Maintenance (formerly known as Alimony or Spousal Support) in Chicago Divorce Cases and Long-Term Marriages

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process, and one of the significant aspects that couples often grapple with is spousal support, which is known as maintenance in Chicago divorce courts. In the vibrant city of Chicago, where divorce cases vary widely, understanding the nuances of maintenance becomes crucial, especially in the context of long-term marriages. 

Maintenance, formerly known as alimony or spousal support, refers to the financial support that one spouse may be required to provide to the other following a divorce. In Chicago, the determination of maintenance is guided by specific laws and statutory guidelines, ensuring a fair and just resolution. Unlike some states that use a formula to calculate alimony, Illinois employs a more discretionary approach, taking at least 5 factors into account:

1. Income Disparities: The most fundamental factor in determining maintenance is the income disparity between spouses. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the higher-earning spouse may be required to provide financial support.

2. Duration of Marriage: Long-term marriages often have a substantial impact on maintenance decisions. In Chicago, the duration of the marriage is a key consideration, with longer marriages generally resulting in a higher likelihood of maintenance being awarded.

3. Standard of Living During Marriage: The court considers the standard of living established during the marriage. If one spouse is accustomed to a certain lifestyle, the court may factor this into maintenance decisions.

4. Custodial and Parental Responsibilities: The custodial arrangements for children can also impact maintenance. A spouse may be eligible for additional support to maintain the children’s standard of living.

5. Financial Needs and Resources: Each spouse’s financial needs and resources are evaluated. The court considers the ability of the receiving spouse to meet their financial needs independently.

For couples undergoing divorce after a long-term marriage, the dynamics of maintenance can be particularly intricate. In long-term marriages, the accumulation of assets is often substantial. The equitable division of assets can influence maintenance decisions, especially when it comes to ensuring financial stability for both parties post-divorce. Long-term marriages may involve significant retirement savings. The court may consider the division of retirement accounts and how it impacts the financial well-being of both spouses. The health and age of each spouse become more critical in long-term marriages. A spouse with health issues or advanced age may have specific needs that the court takes into account.

Navigating maintenance in Chicago divorce cases, especially those involving long-term marriages, requires a thorough understanding of the legal landscape and the specific factors that influence these decisions. Couples contemplating divorce in Chicago should seek professional legal advice to ensure a fair and equitable resolution that takes into account the unique circumstances of their marriage. While divorce is undoubtedly challenging, a well-informed approach to maintenance can pave the way for a smoother transition into the next chapter of life for both parties involved. Reach out to the Chicago matrimonial and family law attorneys of WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC with decades of experience in this ever-changing Chicago divorce landscape. Jennifer R. Ward is available to schedule a consultation with you; reach out to her directly via email at jward@wardfamilylawchicago.com today.



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