Determining Alimony in a Divorce

You have likely heard horror stories about alimony. Many people stay in unhappy marriages longer than they want purely out of fear for the financial impact the divorce could have on them. They worry that they will be unable to maintain their current standard of living if they have to fork over a large part of their earnings to their ex-spouse each month, essentially indefinitely. Alimony is meant as a means of establishing fairness and equity for both parties in the wake of a divorce. If one partner sacrificed education or a career in order to care for the household or children while the other spouse built their career, alimony can compensate them for their contributions to the relationship. Alimony is meant to allow the sacrificing-spouse to maintain a comfortable standard of living while they pursue an education, career, or second marriage, at which point they will no longer need such financial support from their ex-partner. Of course, in appreciation, alimony can be quite a hit financially, as it can be awarded essentially indefinitely. The paying spouse has no way of knowing when their ex will be financially able to support themselves or if they will remarry, so some people may avoid divorce purely because they do not feel like bankrolling their ex-spouse’s new life.

How is Alimony Determined?

Despite what you have heard, you may be surprised to learn that alimony is not awarded in all marriages. Increasingly today, where both spouses maintain careers throughout their marriage, there is not as much of a need for alimony since each spouse has the ability to continue supporting themselves as they were prior to the divorce. The biggest factors in determining whether alimony will be awarded is whether one spouse needs it and whether the other spouse can afford to pay it. If both spouses earn about the same amount, there is likely not a need for alimony to be awarded. Likewise, if it is not financially possible for one spouse to pay alimony to the other, it will not be awarded.

Will Spousal Support be Awarded in the Case of our Model Family?

In our model family, the wife, Erica, made sacrifices to care for the home and family while the husband, Alex, built his electrical contracting business into a successful enterprise. However, once the children were older, Alex put his wife through school and supported her in building a successful career of her own. At this point, both spouses have successful and lucrative careers independent of each other. It is unlikely that there is a need for either spouse to receive alimony from the other unless one spouse can demonstrate otherwise to the satisfaction of the court.

Schedule a Consultation With Glasgow & Olsson

If you are considering divorce in Illinois, or if you have started the process of divorce, and you are concerned about having to pay alimony or whether you will receive an adequate amount, it is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. If you need representation for a divorce or child support matter in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is here to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

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