What to Know About Violating a Spousal Maintenance Order in Illinois

To learn what might occur if your former spouse has been violating your spousal maintenance order, continue reading and reach out to our experienced Illinois divorce and family law attorney for assistance.

What should I know about spousal maintenance orders in Illinois?

It is common in many divorce cases for one spouse to be awarded spousal support to assist them in the transition of living on one income, rather than what they are accustomed to with two incomes throughout their marriage. Spousal support is generally meant to last until the spouse obtains employment or becomes self-sufficient. Spousal support may be awarded if one partner gave up their career to raise their children throughout their marriage, leaving them at a disadvantage financially once the divorce has been finalized. It is possible for the court to order these payments to be made for a designated amount of time, or for an indefinite period in some cases. Spousal maintenance payments can be made in monthly installments, lump-sum amounts, or made to the clerk of court who will distribute the amount to the supported spouse.

What are the penalties for violating a spousal maintenance order in Illinois?

When either spouse violates the terms of a divorce, they can be held in contempt of court in Illinois due to the fact that a divorce decree or judgment is legally binding. Violating the terms of the divorce is a serious offense. Violating a spousal maintenance order in Illinois is punishable by fines or jail time.

For example, if a spouse falls behind on payments due to a severe injury, the loss of their job, or simply because they are fusing to make these payments, the supported spouse can file a contempt of court against the paying spouse. This should be done with the assistance of an experienced attorney. Next, a judge may order the paying spouse to have their wages, bank accounts, or tax returns garnished to pay both ongoing and past-due support.

Violating a spousal maintenance order can be charged as a misdemeanor in some cases. This will occur in the following circumstances:

  • The paying spouse intentionally refuses to pay support
  • The paying spouse fails to pay the obligation for at least six months
  • The paying spouse is in arrears of at least $5,000

When a spouse is charged with a misdemeanor, their punishments may include fines, jail time, and the full reimbursement of the support owed with interest. It is possible for a spouse to be charged with a felony if they leave the state to evade paying support, intentionally refuse to pay support in at least one year, or owe at least $20,000.

Contact Our Experienced Illinois Firm

At Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C., our Peoria and Tazewell County divorce lawyer will help you navigate the challenges of any divorce or family law matter you may be facing. We are dedicated to the practice of Family Law. We provide effective and compassionate legal counsel for the following legal matters: divorce, alimony, division of marital assets, child custody, and child support. Contact us today.

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