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When Do Spousal Support Payments End in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County spousal maintenance attorney

In some divorce and separation cases, a higher-earning spouse is required to make payments to a lesser-earning spouse. These payments are called spousal maintenance under Illinois law, but they are also commonly referred to as spousal support or alimony. There are a variety of reasons that a spouse may be required to make these types of payments. Spousal maintenance arrangements may be stipulated in the couple’s prenuptial agreement, or a large discrepancy in the spouses’ assets and incomes may necessitate maintenance. Whether you are the payor or the recipient of spousal support, you may be wondering how long maintenance payments will be mandated. Like most family law concerns, the answer will depend on several factors.

Spousal Maintenance Duration

If the spouses have signed a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifies the terms of spousal maintenance, the court will typically uphold these terms. If the spouses did not have an agreement dictating spousal maintenance arrangements, the court will consider factors such as the spouses’ income, assets, employability, health, impairment to future earning capacity, and other elements to determine whether maintenance is appropriate. Typically, spousal maintenance is intended to give a lesser-earning spouse time to gain the skills and education needed to become self-supporting, and it can also ensure that a person is able to maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage.

If spousal maintenance is awarded, the amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments will be determined using statutory guidelines. The length of time that maintenance will last will be based on the amount of time the couple was married. For marriages that lasted 20 years or more, spousal support may be paid indefinitely. 

What if an Ex-Spouse Gets Remarried?

Unless the couple agreed to different terms in a valid marital agreement, spousal maintenance ends when the recipient remarries. Spousal maintenance also terminates if the recipient cohabitates with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship. You may be able to petition the court for a spousal support reduction or termination if a major change in circumstances makes spousal support no longer appropriate. Lastly, spousal maintenance payments can terminate if the couple voluntarily agrees to end maintenance or if either ex-spouse passes away.

Contact a Cook County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

When a married couple divorces or obtains a legal separation, the court may award spousal maintenance or spousal support, depending on the circumstances. It is important to know that maintenance payments end when a spouse remarries or cohabitates with a romantic partner, gains financial independence, or passes away. For legal assistance establishing or modifying spousal support, contact an accomplished Hinsdale divorce attorney at Botti Marinaccio, LTD. today. Schedule your confidential consultation by calling our office at 630-575-8585.



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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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