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Can Spousal Support Be Modified After an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Kane County order modification attorneyThe end of a marriage can be devastating for many reasons. Life after divorce can seem daunting, especially the thought of starting over again. There are many things to resolve, such as how to divide marital property or assets, allocation of parental responsibilities, as well as child support or spousal support. Formerly known in Illinois as “alimony,” spousal support or maintenance may be awarded to one of the spouses in a divorce depending on the situation. However, although the amount set during the divorce proceedings may be appropriate at the time, a significant change in circumstances may call for an amendment to a spousal support order. 

How is Spousal Maintenance Distributed?

The reason for spousal maintenance in any divorce is to assist a financially dependent spouse who does not have the income or means to be self-supporting post-divorce. This is typically a stay-at-home parent who did not work outside the home while raising children. In some scenarios, a couple may agree to the amount and how often payments will be dispersed. If a couple cannot agree, they will have to go to court and a judge will determine how it should be distributed.

Depending on the terms of the divorce decree, spousal support payments can take various forms:

  • One lump sum payment
  • Period/ongoing payments (bi-monthly, monthly, semi-monthly)
  • Transfer of property ownership (house, vacation home, or rental property)

What Warrants an Order Modification?

In Illinois, if the receiving spouse gets married again, spousal support will automatically end unless the couple previously agreed otherwise. Either spouse can ask the court to modify or discontinue spousal support payments when there is a significant change in circumstances. A major life change can also include a job loss, which often results in financial trouble for the affected party.  A judge will determine if it is necessary to change or end payments based on the below factors:

  • A change in employment status for either spouse
  • If either spouse becomes disabled and cannot work 
  • Whether or not the receiving spouse has made an effort to find work 
  • If either spouse has had a significant increase or decrease to his or her salary 
  • The property each spouse received in the divorce settlement
  • Any property that either spouse has gained since the original support order was issued
  • The tax consequences of the payments on either spouse
  • How long support has already been paid in relation to the duration of the marriage

How Do I Request a Change?

If you want to modify or end your spousal maintenance payments (depending on whether you are the paying or the receiving spouse), you can file a motion with your County Clerk’s office. Then, you and your ex must attend a hearing. You must provide evidence to the court that would warrant an amendment to or termination of the current payments. There is no need to go to court if you and your ex-spouse can agree on the modification. If you come to a resolution on your own, be sure to put it in writing, both sign it, and file it with the county.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

After a divorce, one spouse may be allocated spousal maintenance when payments are necessary to help him or her move on financially. The Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C. understand the Illinois laws related to alimony,and we know how important this financial relief can be to you and your children. That is why it is important to speak with an accomplished St. Charles spousal maintenance attorney right away. To schedule an initial consultation, call our office today at 630-200-4882.




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