A common assumption that many of those entering into divorce proceedings in Peoria often have is that alimony will automatically be a part of their divorce settlement. Their assumptions likely come from hearing stories in popular media of renowned divorce cases involving disputes over spousal maintenance. Yet the truth is that alimony is not awarded in every divorce case. Indeed, according to information shared by CBS News, government agencies report only between 243,000 and 361,000 adults in American as having received alimony in 2016. An important point to remember about spousal support is that it is not meant to serve as a punishment levied against the more well-to-do spouse; rather, it is simply meant to help an economically disadvantaged spouse transition into post-divorce life.
This implies an inherently temporary nature. In fact, only in rare cases might alimony be awarded indefinitely. State law actually recognizes several different types of alimony. According to the Illinois General Assembly, these are:
- Fixed-term alimony: As the name implies, this type of alimony is awarded only for a designated term, after which the payor is no longer bound to the obligation
- Reviewable alimony: Similar to fixed-term alimony, this type of assistance is assigned for a designated period, after which the court will review to determine if it is still needed and either terminate, modify or extend the order
- Indefinite alimony: This type of alimony is awarded without the court imposing a termination date for the obligation
Even in cases where the court awards indefinite alimony, such assistance is not meant to be permanent. The payee might still be expected to seek gainful employment, and the alimony obligation would automatically end upon their remarriage.