Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your marriage and divorce, you may feel that you should be entitled to spousal maintenance payments from your ex-spouse. Unlike child support, spousal support is not presumed to be appropriate in every situation. Instead, Illinois law requires each case to be weighed on its own merits to determine if the need for such supports actually exists. This means that, if you think may be entitled to recieve maintenance, you will need to explicitly request that relief from the court.
Marital Conduct Not a Factor
Unless you and your spouse included behavior clauses in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will not consider the conduct of either party when deciding whether to award maintenance. While your spouse’s behavior may leave you feeling like he or she owes you some type of restitution, the law in Illinois specifically prohibits marital misconduct from being a factor in maintenance proceedings. Spousal support is meant to help you meet your financial needs and obligations, and is not intended to be used as a punitive measure against your spouse.
Decreased Earning Potential
While the law does not allow support to be awarded on the basis of infidelity or marital misconduct, other factors in your relationship can affect the proceedings in your favor. If your role in the marriage or as a parent has impaired your ability to reach your full earning potential, your chances of being awarded of support may be better.
For example, if you left school to stay home with the children while your spouse continued to progress in his or her career, your contribution to your spouse’s earning capacity will not be ignored. You may not be the one going to work every day in that particular job, but you certainly helped him or her be able to so. Following your divorce, your ability to support yourself may be hampered by your previous focus on marital and family responsibilities, and spousal maintenance may be appropriate to assist you in satisfying your ongoing monthly expenses.
Standard of Living
The law also recognizes your right to maintain some semblance of stability after your divorce. The lifestyle that you and your spouse enjoyed may not be able to be completely replicated once the marriage ends, but you should not be forced to suffer an extreme change in financial circumstances. If you and your spouse, for example, were living relatively comfortably in a large home with many conveniences and amenities, it is unreasonable for you to be suddenly relegated to a tiny, one-bedroom apartment, struggling to make ends meet. In such a case, a court would be likely to find that financial support is necessary, dependent, of course, upon a number of other considerations as well.
Get the Answers You Need
As with most aspects of family law, deciding whether to seek spousal maintenance is a very personal decision, based on your own unique needs. Our team is ready to assist you in understanding your various options under the law. Contact an experienced St. Charles divorce attorney today to get legal guidance from a team dedicated to helping you achieve the post-divorce future you deserve. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule an appointment.