Maintenance (Alimony)

Definition of Alimony

What is Maintenance–formerly referred to as Alimony?

Maintenance is a court-ordered support payment by one spouse for the other–usually in the context of a divorce.

Is your spouse giving you the financial support you need?

The Court grants spousal support after considering factors such as the length of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage.

Don’t earn enough to maintain your standard of living?

The Court considers the present and future earning capacity of each party. If you made contributions to your spouse which led to higher earning capacity and career advancements, the Court will consider that information when making a decision.

How long will Maintenance last?

Sometimes, the Court will award Maintenance for a specific time length (ex. 7 years). The Court may seek to give the spouse receiving support a chance to become self-sufficient. The Court may also award a one time lump sum payment of Maintenance.

Can Alimony ever be permanent?

Yes. The Court may award Maintenance on a temporary or permanent basis.

Can Maintenance ever be changed, once the Court awards it?

You can ask the Court to modify or terminate Maintenance only after you have shown substantial changes in your financial circumstances. The Court will verify that changes have been made in good faith. Sometimes the Court will “reserve the issue of Maintenance” for future review. This happens when one party is not currently in need at the time the judgment is entered, but may be in need of Maintenance in the future. Also the Court may reserve the issue when one party is unable to pay when the judgment is entered.

Permanent maintenance is for the payee’s life, with some exceptions such as death, cohabitation and remarriage. Call us at (312) 558-9100 for more information.

What if my judgment says nothing about Maintenance?

If the Court did not award Maintenance or reserve Maintenance at the time the judgment was entered, you are forever barred from requesting Maintenance, because it is deemed “waived”.

Do I have to pay taxes on the Alimony I receive?

You must include Maintenance in the calculation of gross income, because the money is considered income. Maintenance is deductible.
spousal support

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