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How is alimony determined?

Sacrifice is a large part of a marriage. Often, for example, one spouse in Illinois will choose to sacrifice his or her career to raise children or financial well-being to support their partner during the launch of a business. Unfortunately, this sacrifice can leave one of the spouses in a bleak financial situation if the relationship ends in divorce. In this circumstance -- and others -- alimony may be appropriate.

Alimony is awarded either upon the agreement of the couple or by an order of the court and is considered separate from marital property. The purpose is to address any disadvantages a spouse with lower income may experience, potentially allowing both spouses to maintain the same or similar standards of living. Courts often have a great deal of discretion when awarding alimony, unlike in child support matters. In some cases, the payments are intended to the "rehabilitative," allowing the spouse to obtain professional retraining or otherwise get back on firm financial footing.

There are several factors that a court will likely take into consideration. These factors include the length of the marriage and the time the spouse would need to become self-sufficient. The judge will also consider whether the payer will be able to support him or herself while also making support payments to the former spouse.

When a couple in Illinois chooses to divorce, there are multiple decisions that must be made. If they cannot make an agreement on their own, the court will have to step in and make a determination on a variety of different subjects. Regardless of whether both people are committed to an amicable resolution or require court intervention, having an attorney with experience with family law can help a person ensure that his or her interests -- including whether alimony is appropriate -- are being looked after.

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