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Spousal Support Modifications in Illinois

Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

Spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony, is the money paid from an individual to his or her former spouse after their divorce to help the receiving spouse maintain financial independence and the lifestyle to which he or she became accustomed during the marriage.

The amount of money paid to the receiving spouse and the length of time he or she receives these payments is determined according to a few factors, such as the length of the couple's marriage, each partner's income and assets, and each partner's medical and personal needs. Sometimes, the amount of money that the court determines is fair needs to be revisited at a later date due to changes in one or both parties' lives.

If you are currently making or receiving spousal support payments and you feel you are either not receiving an adequate amount or that you are paying more than you should be paying or can afford to pay, consider seeking a modification to your spousal support order.

Reasons for Seeking a Modification to your Spousal Support Order

Any time there is a significantly changed circumstance that alters one party's financial needs or ability, that party may petition to the court to modify his or her spousal support order. Examples of circumstances that may be cited on such a petition include:

  • The paying spouse being laid off or terminated from his or her job;
  • The paying spouse becoming ill or injured and unable to work;
  • The receiving spouse remarrying, which terminates his or her right to receive support;
  • The receiving spouse taking a new job;
  • The receiving spouse cohabitates with a new partner;
  • The paying spouse remarrying and being unable to afford his or her previous payment amount;
  • The receiving spouse completes his or her education or job training and can enter the workforce; and
  • The receiving spouse stops attending college or job training as directed in the couple's divorce settlement as a stipulation of their spousal support order or fails to make an effort to obtain employment.

If you are unsure about whether your reason for seeking a modification qualifies you for a modification, speak with an experienced Cook County divorce lawyer. It is also important to note that either spouse's death automatically terminates their spousal support order.

The Spousal Support Modification Process

To modify your spousal support order, you need to file a petition with the court that ordered your original spousal maintenance agreement and prove that the circumstances present in either your life or your former partner's life have made your original obligation amount insufficient or too high. You can do this by providing evidence in the form of documentation of the changed circumstance.

Once you have filed your motion to modify the order, you must give your former spouse notification that you have done so. This is known as “serving” your former spouse. Once he or she has been served, he or she may respond by agreeing to the change or disputing it. If your former partner disputes your request for a change to your spousal support order, you will have to go to court to prove that a modification to the order is necessary. During this hearing, you and your former spouse may both present evidence to support your side. The court will then examine the evidence and arguments presented to determine whether to grant your request for the modification or not. Your lawyer can help you with this court hearing by gathering your evidence and discussing what to expect in the courtroom with you so you can adequately prepare yourself.

Work with an Experienced Cook County Family Law Firm

In the years following your divorce, a lot in your life can change. These changes can necessitate revisions to your original divorce settlement, which are known as post-decree modifications. If you have experienced a change in your life or in your former partner's life that has made it necessary for you to alter your spousal support order, work with an experienced Cook County divorce lawyer who can help you with this process. Contact the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley today to schedule your initial consultation with skilled Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer Donald J. Cosley. During this consultation, he can answer your questions and help you gain a better understanding of how to proceed with your spousal support modification.

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