Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is a sum of money given from one spouse to the other to provide for the other spouse’s support during or after the divorce. Maintenance, like all support obligations, may cease reflecting a party’s needs or ability to pay. Where one party is no longer able to pay maintenance at the ordered amount, or where the payee-spouse’s needs have changed, maintenance is modifiable.
The modification of maintenance is covered by 750 ILCS 5/510. An order of maintenance can only be modified or terminated upon a substantial change in circumstances. A court will consider factors similar to those considered when awarding maintenance, including the ability of the payor-spouse to make the maintenance payments, the future earning potential of both parties, and the needs of the payee-spouse.
Most maintenance obligations are for a set period of time, after which they may be subject to review. Where the payee-spouse no longer requires maintenance, or where the payor-spouse can no longer afford to pay maintenance, the maintenance obligation is unlikely to be extended.