Butler Giraudo & Meister
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Factors that affect spousal maintenance in Illinois

There are many uncertainties when filing for divorce. A person cannot be certain of the outcome regarding things like property division, child custody and more. This is also true of spousal maintenance. Although many Illinois residents believe that spousal maintenance is a given, this is not always the case. A judge will take many different factors into account before deciding whether maintenance is appropriate.

The duration of a couple's marriage is one such factor. For example, a judge may decide that the length of the marriage was too short to justify maintenance for either party. If a couple has been married long enough for maintenance to apply, the standard of living during the marriage is an important consideration.

Considering the standard of living is particularly important when looking at the income of both spouses, future earning abilities and needs. If each person's income is sufficient to sustain the same or similar standard of living then maintenance might be necessary. However, if one spouse greatly outearned the other, a judge may decide that ordering maintenance is the best solution. How long the support order lasts might also be influenced by the recipient's earning capacity.

These are only a few examples among many others that Illinois judges look at when considering spousal maintenance. In fact, the decision to order maintenance, the amount and the duration of the order are largely up to the discretion of the court. Since this is the case, it is important that any person who is concerned about spousal maintenance to advocate on behalf of his or her rights. An individual who takes the time to familiarize him or herself with relevant family law topics might find that doing so can be helpful for understanding those rights.

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