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Naperville, IL alimony lawyerOne common cause of stress and tension that can continue even after a divorce is finalized is spousal support (previously known as alimony). In many marriages, the earning power between spouses is uneven and results in a lopsided financial arrangement that can hurt a lower-earning spouse after divorce. This is especially true if one spouse gave up career ambitions to care for a couple’s young children. 

Nevertheless, it is common for the paying spouse to disagree with the necessity or fairness of spousal support and to not make these payments. If this sounds familiar, you do not have to solve this problem on your own. Consult with an experienced spousal support attorney who can help you with the enforcement process and ensure you receive the money you are entitled to under the law. 

Why Is My Spouse Not Making Spousal Support Payments? 

People sometimes come on hard times and fall behind in making spousal support payments for many reasons. If your ex typically makes spousal support payments on time and has only recently fallen into arrears, you may want to consider reaching out to them directly and asking for an explanation. You may be able to work something out between the two of you, although it is wise to get such an agreement in writing. 


IL divorce lawyerWhile it will not be appropriate in every divorce case, there are some situations where one party will be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other. This form of financial support, which is commonly known as alimony, may be awarded in cases where one spouse earns a lower income than the other, where a spouse is a stay-at-home parent, or where a person would require assistance in order to maintain their accustomed standard of living. Once a spousal support order is created, financial support will need to be paid from one party to the other on an ongoing basis. However, following a couple’s divorce, situations may arise in which a spouse may believe that maintenance should be modified, or a person may request that their support obligations be terminated altogether.

Reasons for Modifying Spousal Maintenance

In most cases, spousal maintenance will be awarded for a fixed term that is determined based on the number of years the spouses were married. There are certain situations where a person may be ordered to pay maintenance indefinitely, including when a couple was married for at least 20 years. In some cases, maintenance may be reviewable, and after a certain period of time, the court may consider the circumstances of each party to determine whether payments should continue or whether they should be modified or terminated.

Requests to make changes to fixed-term or indefinite spousal maintenance will usually need to be based on changes in the circumstances of one or both parties. A change of circumstances must be substantial, and it will usually need to affect the financial needs of either party or impact a person’s ability to continue paying support to their ex-spouse. For example, if the person paying support experiences a disability that affects their employment, resulting in a lowered income, they may ask that for their spousal support obligations to be reduced or terminated. The payor may also ask for a reduction or elimination of support if they can show that their ex-spouse has begun earning a larger income and can fully support themselves without assistance.


DuPage County Spousal Maintenance AttorneyWhile a divorce can lead to financial difficulties for both spouses, there are some situations where one party may struggle to support themselves or maintain their standard of living on their own. If there is a large difference between the incomes earned by divorcing spouses, or if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent who is not currently working, a divorce court judge may decide that spousal maintenance would be appropriate. This form of support, which is commonly known as alimony, will usually be paid for a temporary period following a couple’s divorce, and it is meant to help the party who earns a lower income meet their needs while also providing them with the means to obtain the education or training they need to return to work or increase the income that they are able to earn so that they will be able to support themselves. Spouses who may pay or receive spousal maintenance will want to be sure to understand how these payments will be calculated.

Spousal Support Calculations and Examples

If a judge determines that spousal support is needed, Illinois law uses a specific formula to calculate the amount that will be paid. This formula applies in cases where a couple’s total gross income per year is below $500,000. For those who earn more than that amount on an annual basis, a judge may order an amount of support that would be appropriate based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

The statutory formula takes one-third (33 and 1/3 percent) of the payor’s net annual income and subtracts one-fourth (25 percent) of the payee’s net annual income. The resulting amount may be paid on an annual basis, or it may be divided by 12 and paid on a monthly basis. However, when the amount of spousal maintenance is added to the payee’s net income, the result cannot be higher than 40 percent of the combined net annual income earned by the parties.


DuPage County criminal defense attorney spousal maintenance

One of the most stressful and frustrating aspects of divorcing your spouse is the financial aspect of the situation. For some couples, the money side of the divorce may not be of much concern, but for most couples, getting a divorce puts a real financial strain on both parties. According to Bankrate, the average cost of a divorce is around $15,000, but the final price tag could be upward of $100,000 in extremely contentious divorces. That is a hefty bill for anyone to foot, especially for those who are disabled or who have been homemakers and who have not held a career. In some situations, spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, can be paid by one spouse to another to help with living expenses. However, spousal maintenance is not awarded in all divorce cases.

Determining a Need for Spousal Maintenance

In some cases, a couple may have an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that dictates the terms of spousal support. If the agreement is determined to be valid and upheld, the guidelines contained in the agreement can be used to determine spousal maintenance.

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