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How Long Do I Have To Pay Spousal Support in Illinois?

Following a divorce, the financially advantaged partner may have a duty to pay alimony to their former partner. You may be wondering: How long does spousal support in Illinois last? The most important variable is the length of the marriage. Here, our Naperville and Bolingbrook divorce attorneys explains what you need to know about the duration of spousal support. 

Spousal Support in Illinois: How Long Does It Last? 

Question No. 1: What Type of Spousal Support are You Paying?

As a starting point, it is important to clarify the type of spousal support you are paying. The duration of alimony will depend, among other things, on the specific type of support awarded. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act there are four (4) primary types of spouse support:

  • Temporary Alimony: Temporary spousal support may be granted as a preliminary matter while a divorce is still pending. It ends when a separation is finalized. Though, temporary alimony may transition to another type of long-term alimony.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony is a type of short-term spousal support designed to help one partner get back into a stronger financial position. Most often, the receiving party attends classes or job training while getting rehabilitative spousal support.
  • Fixed-Term Alimony: Fixed-term alimony payments last for a pre-set number of years. The primary factor in determining the duration of fixed-term alimony is the length of the marriage.
  • Indefinite Alimony: Also referred to as “permanent alimony,” indefinite alimony may be awarded after the end of a long-term marriage — defined as 20 years or more under Illinois law.

The issue of spousal support could also be resolved with a lump-sum payment as part of a divorce settlement. For example, the spouse who is entitled to receive ongoing alimony payments from their former partner could waive that right in exchange for some form of consideration in a broader separation agreement. 

Question No 2: How Long Did Your Marriage Last? 

When most people are looking for information about how long they will have to pay alimony, they are thinking about fixed-term alimony or indefinite alimony. The main factor that determines how long you must pay is the length of the marriage. Illinois has general guidelines in place for determining the duration of spousal support. Here is a basic overview of the alimony guidelines: 

  • Married five years or less: 1 year of spousal support.
  • Married five to 10 years: 1.5 years to 4 years of spousal support.
  • Married 10 to 20 years: 4.5 years to 16 years of spousal support.
  • Married for more than 20 years: Spousal support may be indefinite.

The duration of alimony is proportional to the length of the marriage. Illinois uses a specific formula to determine the basic guideline. Though, family law judges have some discretion in deviating from the guidelines when deemed appropriate. 

Get Help from a Divorce Attorney in Naperville and Bolingbrook, Illinois

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois divorce lawyers take a results-oriented, client-centered approach to every case. If you have any questions about the duration of spousal support in Illinois, we can help. Contact us now to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation. We handle spousal support cases in Naperville, Bolingbrook and throughout the surrounding region in Will County and DuPage County.