Divorce often raises as many financial issues as emotional. Couples must divide their assets and debts, and then move forward with a single income. In some situations, one spouse is entitled to spousal support, also known as alimony, during the separation and following the divorce. This occurs when that spouse was financially dependent on the other during the marriage, such as a stay-at-home parent. The purpose of alimony is to avoid inequitable results from the divorce.
How Alimony is Determined
Under Illinois law, numerous factors go into determining if spousal support is appropriate. The judge will look at each individual’s income, needs, ability to support themselves, length of the marriage, and more factors listed within the statute. The judge cannot look at whether there were extramarital affairs or other marital misconduct when determining support.
Generally, the paying individual will be ordered to provide the other with a monthly payment indefinitely or for a specific amount of time. The exact amount is determined by a mathematical formula.
While a divorce decree is final, there is the potential to reduce or increase alimony payments in the future. If the paying individual wishes to lower the amount of support due each month, he or she must return to court and prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Making slightly less money or a higher cost of living is not enough to show a substantial change. The individual must show the judge that he or she is no longer employed or makes substantially less money than he or she did during the marriage. The paying individual must show he or she cannot afford to make the alimony payments.
Other factors can represent a substantial change as well, including if the recipient individual cohabitates with a new partner or has a significantly higher income than at the time of the divorce.
The judge will look to see if any change in employment was made in good faith, whether both parties are making an effort to support themselves, each person’s future earning potential, the tax ramifications of the support, and more as outlined in the statute.
Termination of Alimony
Under Illinois law, spousal support ends when either party dies. It can also end when the recipient remarries or cohabitates with a new individual.
If the paying individual wishes to stop making alimony payments, he or she will need to return to court—just as he or she would for a modification—and prove a substantial change in circumstances.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney
The experienced DuPage County family law lawyers at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. understand that you are not interested in a drawn out court battle, but need your situation to change. Despite it being financially necessary, it can be challenging to prove a substantial change in circumstances. You need to be able to accurately prove your financial situation or show a change in your ex-spouse’s circumstances. Contact us today if you need assistance with your case. We are happy to help.