Lavin & Parisi, Attorneys at Law

Spousal support: It's not just for women anymore

Photo of Karen Lavin

It should surprise no one that traditional social norms are not the norm for everyone. In just the past few years, the acceptance of same-sex marriage has gone from almost nonexistent to the law of the land. Norms related to same-sex marriage have not done a complete 180, but they are turning.

In Illinois, the same is true about how we view divorce and spousal support. It used to be that divorce meant failure. If support, often called alimony, was a point of contention, discussion centered on how much the ex-husband would pay the ex-wife. Today, the realities of family structures may be so unique that the issues have to be addressed from a more balanced perspective.

What that can mean is that when it comes to spousal support, a father might be the one in the position of needing help from the mother to get through the dissolution.

Illinois spouse maintenance guidelines

The Illinois law addressing spousal support attempts to address current realities by using a framework for determining spousal support levels that does not rely on gender, but rather individual finances and futures. For example, the formula that the courts are expected to use says the following factors should be included as variables:

  • Each party's individual needs
  • The assets and incomes of both parties
  • Each individual's future earning potential, including impairments resulting from decisions made for the sake of the marriage
  • The employability of each of the parties

These are only several of the issues that deserve consideration when determining proper spousal support. While the area of the law that covers such things is called family law, it's clear that individual rights are important. To be sure that your rights are protected, it's best to consult an experienced attorney.

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