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How to Avoid Paying Alimony in Illinois

Published on September 23rd, 2022

An envelope marked “Alimony” with a wad of cash inside

Alimony Attorney in Rockford, IL

If you’re in the midst of a divorce and you’re the main breadwinner, you’re likely worried about the amount of alimony you’ll have to pay once the divorce is finalized.

While alimony is legally required in many cases, there are some strategies you can use to lower your alimony amount. The first step is understanding what alimony is and how it is determined. Once you know the basics, it will be easier to avoid high payments.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is financial support one spouse pays the other after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help the receiving spouse maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage. Support can be awarded temporarily or permanently, and payments may be made in lump sums or periodic payments.

How is Alimony Determined in Illinois?

Several factors determine whether or not alimony should be paid and in what amount. These include but are not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of both spouses
  • The financial resources of both spouses
  • The earning capacity of both spouses
  • The educational levels of both spouses
  • The time necessary for the receiving spouse to gain adequate education or training to find employment
  • The tax consequences of the divorce
  • Any agreement between the parties regarding spousal support
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including but not limited to childrearing, education, and career building of the other party
  • The relative earning capacity of each party

5 Ways to Avoid Alimony in Illinois

Alimony is not guaranteed in every divorce, even if you meet the above criteria. However, there are a few factors that increase your chances of paying mandatory alimony. If you can avoid these factors, you may be able to avoid making payments or at least reduce the amount you owe.

  1. Short-Term Marriage
  2. One way to avoid paying alimony is to prove that your marriage only lasted a short time. In Illinois, the courts consider a marriage to be short-term if it lasts less than 5 years. If you show that your marriage fell into this category, it is less likely that the court will order you to pay alimony.

  3. Waiver of Alimony
  4. In some cases, you and your spouse may be able to agree to waive alimony entirely. Doing this is typically done as part of a negotiated divorce settlement.

    You will need to have the waiver of alimony included in your divorce decree and have your spouse agree to it for it to be enforceable.

  5. Prove That Your Spouse Does Not Need Alimony
  6. The court will only order you to pay alimony if it can be proved that your spouse needs it. This means that your spouse must prove that they cannot support him or herself without financial assistance from you. The court may rule that alimony is unnecessary if you can prove your spouse’s income is sufficient to support them.

  7. Show That You Cannot Afford to Pay Alimony
  8. Even if the court believes that your spouse does need financial assistance, you may still be able to avoid paying if you can prove you cannot afford it. To do this, you will have to provide evidence of your income, expenses, and assets.

    If the court believes that paying alimony would cause you undue financial hardship, it may waive or reduce the amount of alimony you are required to pay.

  9. Agree to Pay Alimony in Exchange for Something Else
  10. In some cases, divorcing spouses can negotiate an agreement in which one spouse agrees to waive their right to receive alimony in exchange for something else. That is, something of value, such as a significant portion of the marital property.

Suppose both spouses agree to such an arrangement, and the court approves it. In this case, it is possible to avoid paying alimony altogether.

It is important to note that these are just a few potential ways to avoid alimony payments. Each situation is unique, and the court will ultimately make the final decision on whether or not alimony should be awarded.

If you are facing the possibility of paying alimony, it’s important to speak with an experienced alimony lawyer about your options. They’ll be able to review the details of your case and help you find the best course of action.

Schedule a Consultation With an Alimony Attorney in Rockford, IL

If you are going through a divorce and need legal assistance with alimony or other family law matters, contact Crosby Law Firm. Our experienced divorce lawyers and family attorneys in Rockford, IL can help you with a variety of legal services, including alimony payments, property division, spousal maintenance, parenting time, and prenuptial agreements.

We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help you reach a favorable outcome in your case.

Call our law firm today at 815-397-2007 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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