Alimony — also called spousal support or spousal maintenance — is a sticking point in many divorces. Representing a major financial burden for the paying spouse, perhaps indefinitely, the issue frequently causes resentment. Moreover, the criteria for establishing alimony are more discretionary for judges compared to child support. Alimony awards are more difficult to predict, which in turn makes it more difficult to resolve alimony in negotiations.
For these reasons, alimony is frequently litigated and requires the attention of an experienced family law attorney. The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd., has litigated many complex and high-profile alimony cases, from high earners and lengthy marriages to spouses with disabilities or otherwise limited earning capacity. Our nationally renowned firm provides dependable guidance and formidable representation for this high-stakes facet of divorce.
"Many of these issues are negotiable. I ask my clients to provide me with a wish list. I suggest they not worry about what's possible and just tell me what they want from divorce."
— Jeffery Leving, in Divorce Wars
Proven Advocacy In Spousal Support Cases
The Jeffery M. Leving firm is the premier family law firm in the Chicago area, and handles complex and high-net-worth divorce cases throughout Illinois and across the United States. Whether you are seeking alimony or fighting it, our role in advocating for you is to ensure that the court applies accurate financial information and the most relevant factors in reaching its decision.
No lawyer can say with certainty how much alimony will be awarded, or for how long, or whether the court will grant it at all. However, from favorable results in hundreds of contested alimony cases, we can provide a realistic forecast and advise you accordingly on whether to settle this issue out of court or proceed with litigation.
Will There Be Alimony? How Is It Determined?
Whereas child support is often automatically awarded and is based on a relatively simple and straightforward mathematical formula, alimony is not awarded in every divorce and is based on multiple subjective factors. The purpose of spousal support is to balance incomes so that the less economically advantaged spouse does not suffer a substantial reduction in his or her standard of living.
Illinois family courts must consider the following statutory factors in determining whether alimony is merited:
- The incomes and resources of each spouse
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- Any special needs of each spouse
- Career sacrifices in caring for the children
- Contributions to the other spouse's earning capacity
- The accustomed standard of living during the marriage
The court also has discretion to award different types of alimony. Temporary support payments (alimony pendente lite) may be awarded during divorce proceedings to provide for a spouse's needs until the dissolution is finalized. A court may award rehabilitative alimony following divorce to give a spouse income until he or she is able to re-enter the workforce and establish financial independence. In lengthy marriages or where disabilities or other factors compromise a spouse's ability to find gainful employment, longer term support may be awarded. This is sometimes called "permanent alimony," although it is not necessarily permanent.
Experience Matters Greatly In These Issues
Because of the unpredictability of these awards, it is often beneficial for both spouses to resolve these issues in advance through a thorough, valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement. Alimony can certainly be negotiated as part of your marital settlement agreement, but your attorney must be able to gauge whether the payment is fair and practical. In many cases, there is no recourse but to argue your position in court. We know how to protect your interests and prevail in these difficult and contentious proceedings.
With so much at stake, this issue must be handled correctly at the time of your divorce. Call our Chicago alimony attorneys at 312-702-0862 and contact us online to schedule a private consultation.