• Alimony & Spousal Support – What’s the Difference?

    spousal support

    If you are in the middle of a divorce, there are many contentious issues that are going to come up. These include child custody, child support, division of assets such as property, alimony, and spousal support. Spousal support and alimony are the two most controversial topics that tend to need a judge present to make final decisions.

    So, What’s the Difference?

    The ONLY difference between the two is that alimony is a more dated and archaic term. Other than that, they mean the same thing. The term spousal support is a more inclusive gender-neutral term that lawyers and courts have transitioned to over the past few years.

    What is Spousal Support in Illinois?

    Spousal support is determined by the following factors:

    • Each Spouses Income & Property
    • Each Spouses Need for Support
    • Realistic Present & Future Earning Capacity of Each Spouse
    • Standard of Living Established During the Marriage
    • Length & Duration of the Marriage
    • The Time the Requesting Party Needs to Obtain the Appropriate Education/Employment
    • Each Spouses Age, Physical & Emotional Health
    • Both Spouses Income Including Disability & Retirement
    • Tax Consequences of Property Divisions
    • Any Agreement for Support Between the Two Parties
    • Any Other Factors Directed by the Court

    Payment Methods

    In the state of Illinois, payment methods for all spousal support needs are monthly. The court will issue an income withholdings order to the paying spouse’s employer. The employer then must cooperate with the process to deduct the payments directly from the employee’s paycheck. Also, payments are then routed directly to the supported spouse.

    If you are a recipient of monthly spousal income and don’t receive your compensation, you can file a motion for enforcement. Failure to pay support may result in the following court orders: 

    • Require Your Ex-Spouse to Pay Fines
    • Garnish Wages or Bank Accounts
    • Extend the Duration of the Support
    • Add interest to the Total Award
    • Intercept Tax Refunds
    • Consider More Severe Consequences (Jail Time)

    What Are the Rules on Spousal Support Termination?

    attorney office

    There are three different situations than can create automatic termination on your existing spousal support agreement.

    Cohabitation – When the supported spouse is living with another person in a conjugal relationship.

    Remarriage – When the supported spouse remarries, the court will terminate the support order.

    Death of Either Spouse

    Non-Automatic Termination Situations

    • A change in either spouse’s employment status
    • Lack of effort from the recipient spouse to become self-supporting
    • Either party’s impairment to earning a stable income due to a health or disability crisis
    • Tax consequences
    • Property divided during the divorce
    • Increase or decrease in either party’s income