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I don't have a job but my husband does, so if we get divorced can I get money from him to live on?

Springfield, IL |

We have two kids, ages 14 and 18 I haven't worked for almost 20 years just took care of the house

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Attorney answers 2


Under Illinois law, maintenance or the "money from him to live on" is awarded by a court based on the factors listed below. Maintenance can be awarded for a short period of time; a period of time at the end of which the court may continue, modify or terminate the obligation; or on a permanent basis. The factors are as follows:

1. the income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance
2. the needs of each party
3. the present and future earning capacity of each party
4. any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage
5. the time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment
6. the standard of living established during the marriage
7. the duration of the marriage
8. the age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties
9. the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties
10. contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse
11. any valid agreement of the parties; and
12. any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.

In your case, it is possible that your husband would be required to pay your maintenance and would certainly owe you child support.

Wilfred H. Chan JD CPA
Law Offices of Wilfred H. Chan LLC
1860 W. Winchester Road, Suite 109
Libertyville, IL 60048


The other attorney's answer is accurate, but I want to stress one specific point. One big factor in maintenance is the discrepancy between the parties' income. You say that you haven't been working for 20 years. But if your husband only makes minimum wage or $10 dollars an hour, there isn't much to give you. He has to have the ability to support himself as well as you when maintenance is considered. If he's making $60k a year or more, while you don't have the skills or experience or education to make much more than minimum wage, you will likely qualify to be awarded maintenance.

Depending upon your age, your ability to learn a skill that will bring you close to the wage that your husband currently earns, and the standard of living you enjoyed during the marriage, the court will consider whether to give you rehabilitational maintenance (money to get you through school while you increase your earning capacity) or permanent maintenance (when the discrepancy is so great between your capacity to earn a living and your husband's current income that you can't catch up in a 3-5 year period, or you have a medical condition which prevents you from ever earning a living due to the inability to get or keep a decent paying job).

The question seems simple but the answer isn't. Good luck.