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Fixed-Term Maintenance in Illinois

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Spousal Maintenance

fixed-term maintenance, alimony, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen a divorce leaves one spouse economically disadvantaged, courts in Illinois are granted the discretion to award spousal maintenance, or alimony, for a period of time following the dissolution of marriage. The purpose of such an award is to provide an opportunity for the spouse receiving maintenance to regain financial independence, if possible, or, if not, to help maintain some semblance of the lifestyle to which he or she was accustomed during the marriage.

Making a Maintenance Determination

In deciding whether or not maintenance is needed or appropriate in a given situation, the court must look at a number of relevant factors regarding the marriage. According the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, these considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Each party’s needs and individually-owned property, including that being allocated in the divorce;
  • The needs and earning capacity of each party;
  • Any impairment to the earning capacity of each party, either by their participation the marriage or family, or other reasons;
  • The time needed for the party seeking maintenance to become self-sufficient, or such expectations are reasonable;
  • The contributions of the party seeking maintenance to the other party’s earning capacity;
  • The age, health, and occupation of each party;
  • The duration of the marriage; and
  • The standard of living created by and enjoyed during the marriage.

Once maintenance has been deemed appropriate, the court may use a formula contained in the law to calculate the amount and duration of such an award, or based on findings of fact, may order a length and amount found to be reasonable.

Awarding Fixed-Term Maintenance

While the law does provide a guideline for determining the recommended duration of a maintenance award based on the length of the marriage, the door is usually left open for continued requests for review and extensions of the award. In cases involving short marriages, defined by the law as marriages of ten years or less, the court may choose to award maintenance for a fixed period of time. When fixed-term maintenance is awarded, it is granted with the understanding and the court-issued directive that extensions will not be considered and that further action requesting them will be barred. The pre-determined termination date is a final termination of all maintenance obligations.

The possibility of fixed-term maintenance was added to Illinois law beginning this year, and, starting next year, will be an option for the courts when conducting reviews of previously-ordered awards. Going forward, the court will be able to change an ongoing obligation from a short marriage to a fixed-term maintenance award, ending all future action on the matter.

Spousal Maintenance Attorney

If you are considering a divorce or are currently obligated to pay spousal support, and would like information on requesting an order for fixed-term maintenance, contact an experienced Aurora family law attorney. We will review your case and help you achieve the resolution you need so that you can get on with the rest of your life. Call 630-409-8184 for a consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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