Illinois wife’s alimony award upheld by Cook County Court

A Cook County appeals court recently upheld an $800 monthly alimony award in favor of Amy Kawiecki.

Her ex-husband, David Kawiecki attempted to appeal the award but lost recently.

Issues of alimony and maintenance are a highly complicated area of Illinois divorce law. Appealing an alimony decision is also extremely difficult to do and requires an experienced divorce attorney.

Generally an appeals court presumes that a trial court’s award of alimony is correct. An Illinois appeals court will only overturn an award of alimony due to an “abuse of discretion” of the trial court, which occurs when no reasonable person would have taken the view of the trial court. It is also up to the party appealing to prove that the trial court abused its discretion.

In the Kawiecki case, David alleged that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding maintenance because Amy received 63.5% of the parties’ income after including her earnings, child support and maintenance. The appeals court noted that this disparity wasn’t an issue because Amy worked part-time during their 17 year marriage and devoted much of her time to maintaining the household and helping raise their three children.

The court also looked at the fact that David earned significantly more than Amy and that she had a limited earning capacity compared to him.

This case illustrates an important aspect of Illinois divorce law: the distribution of marital property has to be equitable, which is not the same thing as equal. This is why a spouse’s greater financial contributions do not necessarily entitle him or her to a greater share of the marital assets.

Case: 2013 IL App (1st) 121250-U


Rolling Meadows attorney Donald J. Cosley is highly experienced in divorce and alimony cases. If you have a question about your divorce, contact him online or call 847-253-3100.

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