Can My Spouse Receive Maintenance after Cheating?
Marriages end for a variety of reasons. One such reason is infidelity. According to a national study, 55 percent of survey participants stated that they divorced their spouse due to infidelity. Despite the cause, divorce is generally an emotional process for all parties involved. Furthermore, many couples facing divorce must determine whether either spouse will receive spousal support or maintenance after a marriage ends. In this situation, one question often arises: does the infidelity of a spouse have an impact on maintenance?
What is Maintenance?
Maintenance, formerly referred to as alimony, is an amount of money, typically paid monthly, that a judge may award to one party in a divorce action. In general, maintenance aims to put both spouses on relatively equal economic footing after a divorce. The spouse who made less or no money while married will typically petition to receive maintenance. Additionally, a spouse may petition for maintenance so that he or she can continue paying living expenses after obtaining a divorce.
Judges consider several factors when calculating maintenance. In Illinois, a judge will consider the length of time a couple remained married and the income of both spouses to determine how long a spouse should receive maintenance.
Does Infidelity Impact Maintenance?
Ultimately, infidelity during a marriage will not specifically impact a spousal maintenance award. To determine the amount of maintenance, judges are given a list of objective factors to consider. Although it is likely that a judge may know the reason for the divorce, which may be infidelity, that knowledge will not impact the amount of maintenance a judge awards.
This may seem unfair, but it is important to remember that one purpose of maintenance is to allow both spouses the ability to meet their reasonable and necessary living expenses after divorce; it is not to punish one spouse or reward the other for his or her behavior during the course of a marriage. Recently, Illinois laws have been modified to make maintenance determinations more objective and less subjective through the use of guidelines.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
The Illinois divorce attorneys at MKFM Law have experience handling all types of divorce cases. Our attorneys are skilled at navigating the intricacies of spousal support and have many years of experience helping clients to understand maintenance and determine how it is decided and awarded. Please call 630-665-7300 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you make a difficult process easier.