Illinois Law (Section 504) provides that a party to a divorce or legal separation may be awarded maintenance (formerly known as alimony) after the Court considers all of the relevant factors of the case. In deciding whether to award a party maintenance from their spouse, the Court will consider the needs of each party, the incomes of each party, the earning capacity of each party, the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, and other facts that are relevant to each party’s ability to make a living. However, what many people may not realize is that Illinois law provides several different types of maintenance that the Court may award after considering these factors.
Section 504 first provides that the Court may award either temporary or permanent maintenance. Temporary maintenance is simply paid for a specified period of time and then terminates after that time period has passed. Permanent maintenance is maintenance that is paid throughout the lifetime of the party receiving maintenance. Although permanent maintenance is meant to last throughout the payee’s lifetime, the Court will typically provide that permanent maintenance will terminate pursuant to Section 510 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act if (1) either party dies; (2) the party receiving maintenance remarries; or (3) if the party receiving maintenance begins to reside with another person on a resident, continuing, conjugal basis.
Section 504 also provides that maintenance may be rehabilitative. The purpose of rehabilitative maintenance is to provide the party receiving maintenance with some supplemental income for a specific period of time until the party is able to support him or herself. As a result, rehabilitative maintenance is temporary and will only be awarded for a specific period of time in order to allow the party to become self-sufficient. An example where rehabilitative maintenance may be awarded is if one spouse was employed at the time the parties married, but became a homemaker after the parties married. If the Court finds that the party has the ability to rejoin their employment or occupational field, the Court may award that party rehabilitative maintenance until he or she secures employment.
Finally, Section 504 provides the Court may award reviewable maintenance. Reviewable maintenance is also awarded on a temporary basis. However, reviewable maintenance allows the Court to reserve the right to review the maintenance award after that specified period of time has passed. After the period of time has passed, the Court will review the award, the parties’ relative financial circumstances, and all of the above stated factors. After reviewing the award, the Court may either terminate the award, or continue the award, based upon the circumstances of the case. If you are currently going through a divorce and either you or your spouse is requesting maintenance, please feel free to contact our office for a consultation.