1. Can I get maintenance, formerly known as alimony?

           The IL Marriage & Dissolution of Marriage Act requires the Judge to consider all relevant factors when deciding whether to award maintenance.  These factors include the parties' income & property, the need of each party, the present & future earning capacity of each party, any impairment of the party seeking maintenance due to the party devoting time to domestic duties, the time necessary to acquire appropriate employment, the standard of living during the marriage, any agreement between the parties, and any other fact the court may deem just & equitable.  



  2.  Are all maintenance orders the same?

           Maintenance comes in many forms.  Unlike child support, in Illinois, there is no statutory "formula" for determining the amount or duration of maintenance to be awarded.  Illinois law recognizes three forms of maintenance:  a) Permanent maintenance, which is paid until the death of the payor or the remarriage of the recipient.  The law includes a "cohabitation" clause that states alimony ends when the recipient cohabits with another person in the avoidance of marriage.  b) Periodic or temporary maintenance.  This lasts for a specific period of time and is usually awarded when one of the parties is in need of financial assistance in order to get back on his/her feet.  c) Lastly is rehabilitative maintenance, which is awarded for the purpose of allowing and assisting the receiving spouse to become self-supporting. 

Illinois law recognizes three forms of maintenance:

  • Permanent maintenance

  • Periodic (temporary) maintenance

  • Rehabilitative maintenance (maintenance until the spouse can become self supporting)


A "typical" permanent maintenance case in Illinois is as follows: The couple has been married for over twenty years. The children are on their own, or at least in college. The husband has worked full-time in his profession throughout the marriage and now earns a comfortable income. The wife has foregone career advancements in favor of being a full-time homemaker. Perhaps the wife has recently reentered the workforce. This is a perfect case for income averaging: the parties' incomes are added together and divided in half - with each spouse receiving one-half of the combined income until a "terminating event" occurs

A "typical" periodic maintenance case in Illinois is as follows: The parties have been married for 10-20 years. Both parties have similar educational backgrounds. The husband has worked full-time in his profession throughout the marriage and now earns a comfortable income. The wife worked full-time early in the marriage but ceased working outside the home when the children were born. The wife needs additional education or training in order to become self-supporting. The children are still young - in elementary school. In this case, it is quite usual to see "periodic maintenance" or "unallocated support" for a defined period of time. The payor spouse will continue to provide support until a reviewable event or the passage of a predetermined period of time.


3.  What would cause my maintenance to terminate?

  • Death of receiving spouse

  • Death of payor spouse

  • Remarriage of receiving spouse

  • Conjugal cohabitation with another on the part of the receiving spouse

  • Retirement of the payor spouse 



 3.  How much child support will I have to pay for my children?

          Although the child support laws are fairly fixed in IL, in certain situations, the courts will take into consideration how much each parent earns, the number of children to be supported, and the percentage of time the children are under each parent's care and control.  The statutory requirement obligates the Noncustodial parent to pay the following percentages of his/her income, based on the number of children needing support:

  • One child        —  20% of income

  • Two children   —  28% of income

  • Three children — 32% of income

  • Four children   — 40% of income

  • Five children    -- 45% and

  • Six or more children -- 50% of your income. 




 5.  What is legal guardianship? 

         A legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority and the corresponding duty to care for the person, personal assets and property of the minor child, usually because the child or person is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity, or disability.  A guardian who has the responsibility of both the personal well-being and the financial interests of the ward is a general guardian.  A person may also be appointed as a special guardian, having limited powers over the interests of the ward. 



 6.  Can the custodial parent deny visitation if child support payments are not current? 

       Visitation and child support are not connected.  A child has a right to spend time with both parents, regardless of the payment or non-payment of child support.  A custodial parent or parenting having the majority of parenting responsibility may not withhold visitation because the other parent hasn’t paid child support.  

Frequently Asked Questions