Alimony, or as it is known now in Illinois, maintenance, used to be almost wholly an item that men paid and women received. As more women move in to jobs that allow them to exceed the earnings of their husbands, when it comes time to divorce, as nearly half of American marriages do, some of those women are suddenly finding themselves on the side of those obligated to pay alimony.
This turning of the tables has, unsurprisingly, resulted in some unhappiness for the women who are required to pay maintenance in their divorce. While that is understandable, it also highlights that some men either abandon an aggressive career track, or quit work entirely and take on the role of caregiver to the children. This may allow a wife with a demanding professional career to maximize her earning potential, but it places the man in the risky position once exclusively the domain of the 1960s “house wife.”
It also means a reexamination of the role of maintenance plays post divorce and how to determine a reasonable and workable support amount. The statutory factors provide a framework, but you want to work with your attorney to develop a plan that will work with your particular facts.
If you have been in a long-term marriage alimony, or maintenance may be available, but it is typically granted only upon a showing actual need. It can be permanent, temporary or rehabilitative, and there are many factors that a court will look to in support of an award.
Source: Time, “The De-Gendering of Divorce: Wives Pay Ex-Husbands Alimony Too“, Liza Mundy, April 16, 2013.