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Will County divorce attorneyThough getting a divorce is often the right decision for personal reasons, you may find yourself at risk of financial hardship without your spouse’s income, especially if your own earning ability is limited. Petitioning for spousal maintenance can help you meet your needs after the divorce, but these support payments usually have an end date, and they can terminate earlier than expected under certain circumstances. With this in mind, it is a good idea to start planning for your future as soon as possible.

How Long Will Support Payments Continue?

When an Illinois court determines that spousal support is appropriate, it will often be ordered for a fixed term, the length of which is figured using a calculation based on the length of the marriage. In general, a longer marriage means a longer duration of spousal maintenance payments, though the court may decide to deviate from the calculation depending on the specific circumstances. In any case, the end date of support payments will be included in the divorce decree. However, alimony payments can terminate before the expected end date if the receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a new partner, or if the paying spouse dies.

Getting Ready for Alimony to End

Even if the end date of your spousal maintenance payments is set for several years in the future, you should start preparing for that eventuality early on. An important first step is to create a budget that factors in all of your monthly and yearly income, including from spousal support and possibly child support if you are a parent, as well as your expenses. During this process, you may find opportunities to cut costs that can make your financial obligations more manageable.

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Will County alimony lawyerf you believe what you see on TV and in the movies, the “average” American family once looked quite different from what it looks like today. In many homes, the man of the house worked full time, while his wife was a stay-at-home mother and homemaker. Of course, this was not how every family worked, but the situation was so common that when a divorce occurred, it was practically assumed that the husband would make support payments—called alimony—to the wife to help her make ends meet.

In the last 40 years or so, much has changed about family life. Today, only a select few households can afford for just one spouse to work. Additionally, each spouse’s role can now be customized to meet their family’s needs with far less concern about social pressures or gender-based expectations. These changes have been reflected in divorce laws across the country, including here in Illinois, with lawmakers intent on making divorce as fair as possible for all couples. One example can be found in the state’s laws regarding alimony—now called spousal maintenance—and the fact that it will not always be ordered in divorce cases.

Important Factors

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) says that if there is no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that addresses the issue of maintenance, the court must determine that a need exists for such payments before they can be ordered. To determine need, the court will look at a number of factors related to the marriage and divorce, including:

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