Types of Spousal Support Orders in Illinois

In Illinois, the law provides for temporary maintenance during the course of the divorce proceedings. In addition, a judge can award permanent alimony support, rehabilitative maintenance, or reviewable maintenance to a spouse once the divorce is finalized.

Temporary Support

Before the divorce is finalized, the court may order temporary support in order to help the lesser-earning spouse live during the divorce proceedings. This order will be determined during what is called a “Temporary Orders Hearing”. As suggested in the name, once all the facts become clear in a case, a different type of payment will usually be ordered once the case is complete.

Permanent Support

As the title suggests, permanent spousal support is paid indefinitely, especially in cases where it seems likely the other spouse will not ever secure regular employment. The only events that would stop permanent support from having to be paid are if one of the two spouses dies, or if the recipient ends up remarrying. Although rare, there may be instances where the recipient is still entitled to payment despite remarriage.

Despite the name, however, it doesn't mean that the amount paid is permanent. That can still fluctuate up and down based on changes of circumstances for the payer or recipient.

Rehabilitative Maintenance & Reviewable Maintenance

Rehabilitative Maintenance is a form of temporary spousal support with the goal of providing temporary help to a spouse while they go to school or receive training. The ultimate goal is that the person receiving payment will reenter the workforce. This form of payment will be periodically reviewed by the court to determine if circumstances have changed for either side or if the spouse receiving payment has taken steps to improve their career prospects.

Similarly, reviewable maintenance is another form of temporary payment with the goal of the other spouse gaining financial independence. As outlined above, the court will take various factors into account if they deem that either side has had a change of circumstances worthy of changing the payment.

Lump-Sum Support

As the name states, lump-sum support is paid all at once instead of over time. This form of support won't be ordered by the court but can be an option if you and your spouse agree to it. Usually, lump-sum is a consideration in cases where a property settlement isn't an option. Lump-sum is unique in that it is even more permanent than permanent alimony, in so much as the amount can never be changed or altered.

As a lump-sum support is paid in full, it can't account for future events or any changes in circumstances. Though it may be tempting to get all the support out of way at once, it would be best to consult with an experienced family law attorney who has worked with you on your case first. They can best determine if this is the right move for you, as once you make that decision it can't be overturned.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common type of alimony?

The most common type of alimony is where a set amount is paid for a set duration of time. This type can be modified or even terminated early depending on the circumstances of the case.

What determines alimony in Illinois?

The court makes decisions regarding alimony based on the alimony factors listed in Illinois’s statutes. Some things the court looks at are the standard of living, each party’s earning capacity, and how property will be divided.

What qualifies you for spousal support in Illinois?

There is no single factor that will automatically qualify you for spousal support. In general, if the other party makes significantly more than you and has supported you for a long time, alimony is likely in your case.

How do I file for temporary maintenance in Illinois?

To get temporary maintenance, you need to ask for it at a temporary order hearing. A temporary order hearing can occur after you file for divorce and the other party replies.

What does temporary maintenance mean?

Temporary maintenance is alimony paid during the divorce process. It lasts until the final order for the divorce is put in place. It is meant to help maintain an equal financial footing for both parties during the difficult time of a divorce.

Are lump sum alimony payments deductible?

No, alimony payments are not deductible on federal or Illinois state taxes. It doesn’t matter whether it is for regular alimony payments or lump sum alimony, neither is deductible. This change was put in place in 2019.

References: The Law