Spousal Support | Alimony Modification

Spousal Support | Alimony – Modification of Spousal Maintenance Illinois

Spousal support orders can be modified in Illinois when there has been a material change in circumstance.  Whether a change in circumstance is material or not is usually fairly clear, but not always clear in all cases.  If you are contemplating a modification of spousal support, or have been notified that a modification of spousal support has been filed in your case, then contact Carbondale, IL divorce attorney Brian Roberts right now.

As with all areas of law, what a material change in circumstance is depends heavily on the facts and circumstances of the parties at the time of the divorce, the negotiations of the parties during the divorce, and the good faith basis for asking for a modification in spousal maintenance.

If the parties agreed to the alimony amount and terms during the divorce they should have agreed to make them either modifiable or non-modifiable.  If you agreed to make your alimony terms non-modifiable, then alimony will automatically terminate when the person receiving the alimony dies, gets remarried, or begins cohabiting with a new partner.

If the person making the alimony payments retires they may petition the court for a modification in spousal maintenance.  The court will consider the retiree’s age, health, motives, timing of the retirement, ability to pay alimony after retirement, and the ability of the person receiving the alimony to become self-sufficient.  If either of you are nearing or contemplating retirement at the time of the divorce, or during spousal modification proceeding, then what happens to the alimony after retirement should be explicitly addressed in that agreement.

Types of Alimony/Maintenance in Illinois

There are essentially three types of spousal support in Illinois.  Which type the judge will order in your case depends on a number of factors, but the length of the marriage is generally considered to be the most important factor.

  1. Temporary Maintenance can be ordered while the divorce is pending.  It terminates when the divorce is finalized and a decision is made as to whether another form a maintenance will begin, or all maintenance will cease.
  2. Rehabilitative Maintenance is usually ordered for a person who needs time to become financially independent.  Usually this allows someone who sacrificed a career or education in order to raise children born of the marriage, or to support a spouse achieve their career goals.  This maintenance is usually set for specific time period, but may be adjusted during a modification hearing.
  3. Permanent maintenance is usually given only in lengthy marriages when one spouse is not, and is not likely to become, self-sufficient after the divorce.  It could be granted in shorter term marriages if there were sufficient facts to justify such award, but these cases are extremely rare.

If you wish to seek a spousal maintenance/alimony modification, or have been served notice that someone is seeking such a modification in a case in which you pay such support, then contact Carbondale, IL divorce attorney Brian Roberts right now to schedule an appointment.