How does alimony work both short and long term?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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How does alimony work both short and long term?

My husband and I have been together for 10 years. Out of those 10 years we have been married for 6. I have no education other than a high school diploma. I have been unemployed for 4 years and I do not have any income of my own. I know IL is an equitable distribution property state. There is no problem in that aspect. He’s been paying all my bills since I have been unemployed. Now that we are looking to divorce, will I be eligible for alimony until I get on my feet? If so, will I lose the alimony once I start working? What if I start a job before the divorce?

Asked on July 25, 2011 Illinois


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Alimony is also known as maintenance and spousal support and comes in different shapes and sizes.  Support payments can influence the distribution of marital assets so you need to be aware of that from the get go. You and your spouse can come to an agreement as to the amount and the court will indeed abide by it.  If you two can not agree, here is the statute in which the decision y the court will be based.  Remember it is done on a case by case basis.  It can be temporary, or for a long duration or rehabilitative or a combination of them all.  Good luck to you.

Without regard to marital misconduct, the court will award maintenance in a lump sum or for a fixed or indefinite period of time, and the maintenance may be paid from the income or property of the other spouse after consideration of all relevant factors, including: (A) the income and assets of each party; (B) the financial needs of each party; (C) the earning capacity of each party; (D) any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage; (E) the time necessary for the receiving party to seek employment (F) the standard of living established while married; (G) the length of the marriage; (H) the age and health condition of both parties; (I) the tax ramifications of the property award upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties; (J) contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse; (K) any valid mutual agreement of the parties; and (L) any other factor that the court expressly finds. (750 Illinois Compiled Statutes - Chapter 5 - Sections: 504)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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