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How Gray Divorce Affects Spousal Maintenance

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

DuPage County divorce lawyersWhen spouses age 50 and older get divorced after decades of marriage, this is commonly known as gray divorce. People going through a gray divorce may have different concerns and priorities than younger divorcees have. One such area is spousal maintenance, in which someone who relied on their spouse’s income during the marriage will continue to receive financial support. Spousal maintenance is not mandatory but is often part of a gray divorce. The maintenance recipient may also be more dependent upon the monthly payments than younger divorcees. 

There are three main reasons why spousal maintenance in a gray divorce is different:

Length of the Marriage

Assuming that it was not a recent marriage, couples in a gray divorce have likely been married for decades. The number of years that you were married is how Illinois calculates how long the maintenance payments should last following the divorce. When spouses have been married for 20 years or more, courts will often award “permanent maintenance.” Maintenance without an end-date is a major factor in the long-term cost of the payments.

Less Potential for Income Growth

Spousal maintenance for younger divorcees is usually temporary because the recipient is expected to try to become financially independent. It may be unreasonable to expect someone in a gray divorce to significantly increase their income. If they are retired, they may be living on a fixed income. If they are still working, they may be at a point in their career where they have limited opportunities for finding a new job or starting a new career.

Higher Standard of Living

Older couples often improve their standard of living as they have time to accumulate assets and are no longer paying for expenses such as raising their children. During a divorce, both sides can reasonably request to continue the same standard of living as when they were married. The court will not allow one spouse to live lavishly off of their high income while the lower-income spouse is forced into a decidedly humble living situation. Spousal maintenance is one of the ways that the court can help equalize the standard of living for the spouses.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Spouses in a gray divorce must divide valuable assets such as their retirement accounts and marital home. An experienced Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., works with divorcees to figure out how to split these assets while ensuring that their financial future is secure. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.



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