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How To Get Alimony? – 4 Great Ways

to get alimony

To get alimony in Illinois the court has to determine alimony is proper

Courts consider many factors described in the Illinois statute when determining whether it is appropriate for you to get alimony. The statute has a catchall provision at the end stating any other factor that the court deems fair. Thus, the court has a lot of discretion. While there are things that can be done to get alimony, it is rarely if ever ironclad.

4 Great Ways To Get Alimony 

…or at least improve the likelihood of a judge awarding it.

  1. Sign a valid agreement between the parties, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement;
  2. Document the sacrifices you made towards child-rearing and home-making instead of education or career-related opportunities;
  3. Document your efforts to obtain a job that would earn you enough money to keep up your standard of living;
  4. Document the financial, physical, and emotional support you provided your spouse that furthered his/her education and/or career.

The weight a judge gives to certain factors varies greatly from case to case depending on the facts. The goal of alimony is to try to maintain the parties’ standard of living during the marriage and not leave one party without the financial means to provide for himself/herself. The governing statute provides both males and females the ability to get alimony as the traditional view that males were assumed to be the primary earner has evolved and thus courts strive to award alimony as justice warrants without regard to gender.

However, a valid agreement between the parties, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, may greatly affect the court’s decision. Courts will typically consider such agreements as long as certain facts surrounding the signing of the agreements do not evidence any undue influence or misinformation and it is not unconscionable to allow the agreements to govern. Courts are less likely to recognize postnuptial agreements as there exists a greater suspicion of manipulation.

Prenuptial Agreements

Judges will typically first look at the parties’ incomes, property, present and future earning capacity as well as any factors that may limit the earning capacity of the alimony-seeking party. One of the most common factors courts consider is the time spent on child-rearing and home-making instead of education or career-related opportunities.

Courts often consider efforts by the alimony-seeking party to the education and career-related opportunities of the other spouse. If the alimony-seeking spouse missed educational or career-related opportunities, judges consider the time necessary to enable the alimony-seeking party to pursue those missed opportunities and whether that party has the financially means to do so during this time or is the custodian of a child making it more appropriate that the custodian refrain from pursuing such opportunities.

Thus, if the alimony-seeking spouse sacrificed a college education, quit his/her job, or passed up a promotion to help further the other spouse’s career or to spend additional time taking care of the house/children, then the court may be more likely to award alimony in the interest of financial fairness.

Alimony

The parties’ needs, age, and physical and emotional condition are also factors, especially if limitations exist regarding one or both of the parties’ abilities to gain and/or maintain employment.

Alimony may be awarded as a way to balance a skewed property division during divorce depending on many other factors. For example, if spouse A had a significant amount of separate property prior to the marriage (property not considered to be joint marital property) and also received an even split of the marital property, then spouse B’s financial worth will be significantly less prior to considering the parties incomes and potential future earnings. Thus, property division is a factor courts may consider more strongly if there is a disparity in the way property was divided.

All of the factors may be given substantially more weight if the couple was married for several years as courts attempt to allow the parties to maintain the standard of living the spouses were accustomed to during the marriage. Thus, the court is more likely to award alimony if the couple was married for 20+ years because the alimony-seeking spouse is likely to have become very used to living a certain way and opportunities may have long since passed and not awarding alimony may leave that spouse’s financial future in disarray.

On the other hand, if a marriage lasts for only a couple years, courts are less sympathetic to the plights of the alimony-seeking spouse because it is less believable that he/she grew accustomed to the standard of living during the marriage and does not have the opportunity to pursue gainful employment after divorce.

As previously mentioned, the goal of the Illinois Courts is typically to award alimony where it is appropriate in order to maintain the parties’ standard of living during the marriage and not leave one party without the financial means to provide for themselves in the future. Thus, the governing statute provides judges with the discretion to entertain any other factors they deem fair.

To learn more about how to calculate the amount and duration of alimony, click the article below.

1 Surefire Way To Calculate Amount Of Alimony Correctly

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