Common Misconceptions About Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

In divorce law, spousal maintenance, often referred to as alimony, is crucial in ensuring financial stability for one spouse post-divorce. However, navigating the intricacies of spousal maintenance in Illinois can be daunting, especially when misconceptions cloud the understanding of this critical aspect of divorce proceedings.

Here, we debunk some of the most prevalent misconceptions surrounding spousal maintenance, shedding light on the realities and complexities involved, with insights from the experienced Chicago alimony attorneys at Gordon & Perlut, LLC.

Spousal Maintenance is Automatically Granted in Every Divorce

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, spousal maintenance is not guaranteed in every divorce case. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is awarded based on factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, and their respective needs. The court carefully evaluates these factors to determine if spousal maintenance is appropriate and, if so, the amount and duration.

Spousal Maintenance Always Lasts Indefinitely

Fact: While spousal maintenance can provide financial support to a spouse in need, it is not meant to be a lifelong obligation in most cases. Instead, spousal maintenance orders often have a specific duration, allowing the recipient spouse time to become financially independent. Factors such as the length of the marriage and the recipient’s efforts to become self-supporting influence the duration of spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance is Punitive in Nature

Fact: Spousal maintenance is not intended to punish one spouse for their role in the divorce. Instead, it aims to address financial disparities that may arise due to factors such as disparities in income or career opportunities. The goal is to provide financial support to the spouse who may have sacrificed their career or earning potential for the benefit of the marriage or family.

Spousal Maintenance Orders Are Set in Stone

Fact: Spousal maintenance orders are not immutable and can be modified under certain circumstances. If either spouse’s financial situation significantly changes, such as a job loss or increase in income, the court may reconsider the spousal maintenance arrangement (unless the parties agreed to non-modifiable maintenance). Chicago alimony attorneys can assist clients in seeking modifications to spousal maintenance orders when warranted.

Spousal Maintenance is Tax-Deductible

Fact: Prior to recent changes in tax laws, spousal maintenance payments were tax-deductible for the paying spouse and considered taxable income for the recipient. However, under current laws, spousal maintenance payments are no longer deductible for the payer or taxable for the recipient for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018. This change has significant implications for divorcing couples and underscores the importance of seeking guidance from knowledgeable Chicago alimony attorneys.

Spousal Maintenance is Only Awarded to Wives

Fact: While historically, spousal maintenance was more commonly awarded to wives, modern divorce laws in Illinois are gender-neutral. Spousal maintenance may be granted to either spouse based on factors such as financial need, earning capacity, and contributions to the marriage. The court evaluates each case individually to determine the appropriate spousal maintenance arrangement.

Cohabitation Automatically Terminates Spousal Maintenance

Fact: While cohabitation with a new partner may impact spousal maintenance in some cases, it does not automatically terminate the obligation. Illinois law allows for spousal maintenance to be modified or terminated if the recipient spouse enters into a supportive relationship akin to marriage, which significantly reduces their financial need. However, proving cohabitation’s impact on spousal maintenance requires careful legal analysis and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

A Last Word About Spousal Maintenance

By addressing these misconceptions and providing accurate information about spousal maintenance, Chicago alimony attorneys at Gordon & Perlut, LLC help clients navigate the complexities of divorce with clarity and confidence. With their experience in Illinois divorce law, they guide clients through the process of understanding their rights and obligations regarding spousal maintenance, ensuring fair and equitable outcomes for divorcing spouses.

Call Our Chicago Alimony Attorney For Legal Assistance

Navigating the legal complexities of spousal maintenance in Illinois requires a clear understanding of the law. Our Chicago alimony attorneys at Gordon & Perlut, LLC, are well-versed in Illinois divorce law and can provide guidance to clients seeking to understand their rights and obligations regarding spousal maintenance.

By addressing misconceptions and advocating for their clients’ best interests, the legal team at Gordon & Perlut, LLC, helps divorcing spouses navigate the complexities of spousal maintenance with confidence. Contact our Chicago divorce attorneys at 847-329-0101 or 312-360-0250 for an alimony consultation and gain clarity on your situation.