Permanent Maintenance

Maintenance is spousal support, formerly known as alimony and now referred to specifically as maintenance. Maintenance is the spousal support, one spouse to the other, based on a number of different factors under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. There are over a dozen factors that the court will consider in awarding maintenance. One of the main factors is the length of the marriage and the relative lifestyle that the parties have grown accustomed to.

Another factor is the earning capacity of each party, the educational background of each party, and the needs of each party. The longer the duration of the marriage, the greater the disparity in income, then the greater likelihood that one party is going to pay maintenance to the other. There are several forms of maintenance. They could be short-term, they could be permanent, they could be reviewable, they could be in gross and, they can be all kinds of different arrangements based on what the parties can agree to. Maintenance is always taxable to the recipient and tax-deductible by the payer.

Maintenance is typically found in long-term marriage where you have a great disparity of income, a great difference in educational background, a great difference in future earning capacity, and a lifestyle during the marriage that one has grown accustomed to, that should not be torn apart and reduced too quickly. The most common form of maintenance that I see is short-term maintenance, anywhere from two to four years, possibly reviewable thereafter in case the person receiving the maintenance can’t get back on his or her feet.

In a long-term marriage we might see permanent maintenance or maintenance for five to ten years and terminating thereafter. There are some statutory events that will terminate maintenance, including the death of either party, if the recipient remarries, or if the recipient starts to live with someone on a resident-conjugal basis. Those are statutory events that will terminate maintenance, which is spousal support from one spouse to the other.