New Law Requires Specific Findings in Spousal Support Proceedings

alimony, support, DuPage County family lawyerWith relatively significant changes regarding divorce and child custody going into effect this month, some of the smaller updates to the law may be going somewhat unnoticed. While some, such as new requirements for courts to enter the judgment within 60 days of the close of proofs, will have more of a procedural impact than substantive, others, such as those regarding spousal maintenance, can have an effect not only on the immediate order but on the potential for modification in the future.

Spousal Maintenance

In the state of Illinois, there is no presumed right to spousal maintenance in a divorce. Of course, a couple may negotiate a conscionable agreement regarding spousal support, and in such cases, the court will enter the agreement as an enforceable order. Absent an agreement, however, the court must examine the circumstances of the marriage and divorce in deciding whether or not such an award is appropriate. The court must take into account, among other factors:

  • Each spouse’s income and property, including that allocated in the divorce;
  • Each spouse’s needs and realistic earning capacity;
  • Any impairment or advancement of either spouse’s earning capacity due to the marriage, family responsibilities, or the other spouse’s efforts;
  • The possibility of the spouse seeking maintenance to become self-sufficient and the time it may take;
  • The length of the marriage, and the standard of living established; and
  • The age, health, and employability of each spouse.

Findings of Fact

Once a decision has been reached, the court must “must state its reasoning for awarding or not awarding maintenance and shall include references to each relevant factor set forth in [the law].” By issuing specific findings of fact, the court must list exactly why it found an award to be appropriate or not, based directly on the considerations provided. Obviously, it is helpful to know the reasons why the court made its determination, but if support is awarded, the justifications may be referenced later, should a modification be necessary.

If you are considering a divorce and spousal maintenance is a potential concern, it is wise to discuss your case with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, we have helped hundreds of area clients reach an equitable divorce agreement that both meets their needs and protects their rights. Call our office today at [[phone]] to schedule a confidential consultation and get the quality representation you deserve from a lawyer who will fight for you.



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