Movies and pop culture would have us believe that spousal support is almost always granted to one spouse—usually the wife—during a divorce. However, this is not always the case. There are many divorce cases in Illinois where maintenance is deemed unnecessary for a variety of reasons. If you are in the process of divorcing, it is important that you understand the reality of spousal support, legally known as maintenance in Illinois.
Factors to Consider
In order to determine whether support is appropriate or not, the court must consider a list of many different factors. Some of the relevant questions include:
- The income and assets of each party. As you might expect, maintenance will almost never be paid to a spouse who makes a higher salary than his or her ex, or who has more assets at his or her disposal;
- The future earning capacity of each spouse;
- The duration of the marriage. A very short marriage is less likely to result in an award of support;
- The existence of any child support obligations and any other parenting arrangements;
- The standard of living enjoyed by both spouses during the marriage; and
- Any agreement executed by the parties, such as a valid prenuptial agreement that made provision for the payment or waiver of spousal support.
There are many other factors that an Illinois court will consider, but the most important are those that address the earning capacity of each spouse, their needs, and the standard of living to which they are accustomed.
A Note on Gender Roles
It is important to note that despite historical bias toward wives receiving spousal support, Illinois courts are increasingly bucking this trend. There is nothing codified in Illinois law that suggests that husbands should not receive maintenance. Indeed, more courts are ordering it if the husband has fewer assets or a lower salary, or is disabled or otherwise unable to earn as much as his former spouse in the future.
Historically, wives were often in the position of staying at home with the children, so if a divorce occurred, they were less likely to have skills necessary to hold a self-supporting job. In this day and age, the participation of the genders in the workforce is equalizing, and as such, Illinois courts are much more likely to award maintenance to a husband than they once would have been. Pride may stop some men from requesting maintenance, but by law, they are entitled to it if a judge finds that the relevant factors warrant an award.
A Knowledgeable Attorney Can Answer Your Questions
Maintenance law is complex, and no two cases are exactly the same. To get the help you need with your situation, contact an experienced St. Charles family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling 630-377-7770.