Understanding Alimony in Illinois: The Three Different Types of Spousal Maintenance

Jul 3, 2023 | Divorce

Are you going through a divorce in Illinois and wondering about your options for alimony? Alimony, or spousal maintenance, can be crucial in divorce proceedings. A judge looks at various factors when deciding whether to grant it and the amounts related. There are four different types of alimony recognized by Illinois law to help you understand which one may apply to your situation. Whether you’re the spouse seeking support or the one who may have to pay it, it’s essential to understand these options before entering negotiations or mediation.

What is Temporary Alimony?

One spouse pays temporary alimony to another during the divorce proceedings. It intends to maintain each party’s standard of living if they separate before the divorce is final. The court decides the amount and duration of temporary alimony on a case-by-case basis.

What is Fixed Term Alimony?

Fixed-term alimony is monetary support paid to a spouse for a set period to allow that spouse to get back on their feet after a divorce. This type of alimony is typically used when one spouse has been out of the workforce for an extended period or when one spouse has lower earning potential than the other.

What is Renewable Alimony?

Renewable alimony is like fixed term alimony, as the recipient will also be working to get back on their feet and make efforts to cover their expenses financially. Instead of a set timeline, though, renewable alimony continues through periodic court sessions until a judge deems it’s not needed anymore.

What is Permanent Alimony?

One spouse pays permanent alimony to the other for an indefinite period. The payments are made either in lump sums or periodic payments and can be modified or terminated based on changes in circumstances.

Permanent alimony is typically awarded when one spouse has been financially dependent on the other for a significant time, such as during a long-term marriage. It is also often granted when one spouse cannot support themselves due to age, disability, or other factors.

Each type of alimony contains its own set of rules and regulations, and it can be challenging to know which is right for you. An experienced attorney can assist you with making an informed decision on which option best fits the situation.