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How are alimony payments determined?

Illinois and Indiana residents who are considering divorce may be concerned about the emotional impact marriage dissolution may have on them and their family. While the emotional toll can be significant, so, too, can the financial ramifications. Property division can dictate who receives the family home and certain retirement accounts, and noncustodial parents are often ordered to pay child support. Another major financial issue that often accompanies divorce is alimony, which is also referred to as spousal support.

Spousal support is intended to assist one former spouse who may have given up an income or career in exchange for raising children or supporting a working spouse during the course of marriage. The specific amount that a court orders an individual to pay in alimony is dependent upon a number of factors. The length of marriage, for example, can play a significant role. Couples who were only married for a few years may not see an order for spousal support, whereas a couple that was married for 20 years is much more likely to see that obligation put into place.

But length of marriage is not the only factor a court will consider. For example, a court will consider if an individual's income varies from year-to-year. If so, then the court may take an average over a five year span when calculating alimony. Also, a court will analyze whether a paying spouse lost a job, whether young kids play into the picture and whether a receiving spouse quit a job prior to marriage.

All of these factors are arguable, but they can play a key role in determining whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, how much should be ordered. In other words, there is a lot at stake in these alimony cases, and the outcome oftentimes is dependent upon the strength of legal arguments made to a judge. Therefore, those who are about to confront this issue should make sure they are prepared to aggressively present their arguments in a persuasive fashion. This will ensure that their rights and interests are protected .

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