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How to Determine a Fair Spousal Maintenance AgreementSpousal maintenance is not a requirement for every divorce agreement but is often included because it is considered fair compensation for the recipient. If there is a large income discrepancy between spouses, then the recipient may be entitled to financial support from the payor. What is a fair amount of maintenance to award and how long should the payments continue? Illinois courts consider factors such as the duration of the marriage, the income potential of the recipient, and how long the recipient may need to become self-supporting. There are other factors that can be relevant to a spousal maintenance ruling:

  1. Standard of Living: The spousal maintenance recipient is not limited to receiving only enough support to live off of. If the spouses had an expensive lifestyle during their marriage, then it is reasonable for both spouses to be able to continue a similar lifestyle after the divorce. It would be unfair to expect a lower-income spouse to live a much poorer lifestyle while the other spouse keeps the same standard of living, especially if both spouses and their children had become accustomed to that lifestyle after several years.
  2. Career Sacrifice: When one spouse becomes highly successful in their career, it is often possible because of sacrifices that the other spouse made. The other spouse may have foregone earning a college education or quit their job in order to raise the children or help their spouse start a new business. Now that they are separated, the other spouse may have difficulty finding a job to support themselves. They may need time to complete their college education or update their job skills. It is fair to expect the higher-income spouse to support the lower-income spouse if they owe their success in part to their spouse’s sacrifice.
  3. Parental Responsibilities: Divorcing parents already have child support to cover their child-related expenses. However, the division of parenting time can have an indirect effect on the parents’ incomes. If one parent is responsible for significantly more parenting time, then they may be limited in the number of hours they can work or projects they can take on. With these limits to their ability to increase their income, they may be more reliant on spousal maintenance payments.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

Negotiating spousal maintenance can be tricky because there is greater flexibility in determining the amount and duration of the payments than with child support. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will help you determine what a fair maintenance agreement would be. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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