Do I Have to Pay Alimony to a Spouse Who Was Unemployed or Underemployed By Choice?
DuPage County Divorce Attorneys Explain Factors Affecting Spousal Maintenance
Divorce can put a person who makes far less money than their spouse at a serious disadvantage when they restart their life after marriage, especially if they put their career on hold to dedicate much of their time to raising children.
Spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support) is meant to ease that transition after a marriage ends. Eligibility for maintenance is determined based on a number of factors, including the income of each spouse, and their respective present and future earning capacity.
So what happens if an individual chose to remain unemployed or underemployed, despite a spouse begging them to do otherwise, while they were married?
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we know the many complexities related to alimony, and we can provide a detailed estimation of what you can expect to pay and the length of time those payments may be expected.
How Much Alimony Will I Have to Pay?
The answer to that question involves a lengthy list of variables, including but not limited to:
- Length of the marriage.
- Potential of both spouses to become economically self-sufficient.
- Education and employment history.
- Age and health status.
- The amount of marital property and how it will be divided.
- Previous standard of living.
- Contributions by a spouse to the other's education, career, or income earning ability.
If a judge determines that a spouse has refused to get a job or intentionally earns less than they should be able to based on their education, skills, and work experience, they may "impute" income for that spouse. That is, they may determine an amount the person should be able to earn and use that figure when determining whether spousal support should be awarded.
In Illinois, spousal support is in no way based on behavior that might have led to the divorce. Eligibility for spousal maintenance is determined by one spouse's need to receive it and the other's ability to pay the ordered amount for a set period of time. Temporary spousal maintenance may be required throughout the divorce process, and it may last until the divorce decree is finalized.
In a change to federal tax law, with all divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, spouses paying alimony cannot deduct spousal support from gross income when calculating taxes owed.
An experienced divorce lawyer can discuss potential spousal maintenance outcomes, along with all other aspects of an impending divorce. It is critical that you secure qualified legal representation early in the process, to ensure your long-term financial interests are protected.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
If you feel your ex-spouse is not entitled to alimony because they chose not to work full-time or at all, the court may agree. Contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-665-7300 for a free consultation.