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How Can I Get Lifetime Alimony in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on April 22, 2024 in Spousal Maintenance

DuPage County, IL alimony lawyerWhen a couple gets divorced, one party is often required to financially support the other. This is referred to as spousal support, spousal maintenance, or alimony. Illinois law gives courts wide discretion in deciding whether alimony must be paid, how much payments should be, and how long they should last.

That being said, many factors go into consideration when a court makes decisions about spousal support. This article will discuss some of those factors and when a spouse may receive alimony for life. 

Keep in mind there is no actual formula that will tell you if you are entitled to lifetime alimony. The best way to determine this is to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the family courts in Illinois and can give you a professional assessment.

How Does a Court Decide Whether to Order Alimony?

When making decisions about alimony, a court will look at several factors, including:

  • The income of each spouse

  • The duration of the marriage

  • How much marital property each spouse is receiving from the divorce

  • The standard of living during the marriage

  • Whether child support is also required

  • How much income each spouse is likely to earn in the future

  • Any disabilities that might affect the earning potential of either spouse

  • Parental responsibilities that might affect employment

Illinois law allows a judge to take into account any factor he or she may find relevant when deciding whether alimony should be paid, who should pay it, the amount of the payments, and their duration.

Am I Eligible for Lifetime Alimony?

When it comes to the duration of alimony payments, there are three main types of spousal maintenance:

  • Fixed maintenance

  • Reviewable maintenance

  • Indefinite maintenance

If a court orders fixed maintenance, the person who pays the alimony — called the payor — makes payments for a specific period. Barring any other factors, the length of alimony payments will correspond to the length of the marriage. For example:

  • If the marriage lasted less than 5 years, the payor may be ordered to make payments for 20% of the marriage’s length. 

  • If the marriage lasted 9-19 years, payments may last 40% of the marriage’s length.

  • If the marriage lasted 14-15 years, payments may last 60% of the marriage’s length.

Reviewable maintenance means that the alimony will end at a specific date, at which point the payee may apply to renew the alimony. 

Indefinite maintenance, also known as permanent maintenance or lifetime alimony, has no end date. This can happen if the payee has a significant disability that prevents him or her from becoming self-sufficient. This can also happen if the marriage lasted 20 years or more. In this case, a judge can decide to award alimony for 20 years or indefinitely.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Divorce Attorney

Because spousal maintenance orders are based on so many different factors, the best way to understand whether you are eligible for lifetime alimony is to speak to a Wheaton, Illinois divorce lawyer. Experienced attorneys like those at the Goostree Law Group have an intimate understanding of how courts approach spousal support and can guide you through the divorce process. Call 630-364-4046 for a free consultation today.

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