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Can you modify a spousal maintenance order in Illinois?

Although orders issued by Illinois family courts require compliance, those receiving them can file a petition to have them modified. Such divorce modifications can ease the financial hardships that may arise after receiving your final decree.

Most people understand that they can successfully modify child custody and support orders when it benefits the child. If eligible, you may also seek to change your spousal maintenance (aka, alimony) order.

What factors do courts consider?

You must have a good reason to ask the court for any divorce modifications, including for spousal maintenance. Before allowing or refusing the request, the court will look at several factors as they pertain to either or both parties.

  • Changes in employment status
  • Impairment of current and future earning capacity
  • Tax consequences of spousal support payments
  • Efforts the receiving party made to become self-sustaining
  • Details of the divorce property settlement
  • Property obtained and presently owned by both parties
  • Decreases and increases in income

The court looks for both good and bad faith reasons to consider modifying a spousal maintenance order. For example, say a paying party takes a lesser-earning job solely to decrease their support payments.

As this is an act of bad faith, the judge will likely decline the modification request. The same is true if the receiving party quits their job or moves to a lesser-paid position only because they want increased alimony payments.

Although it is sometimes challenging to find success, either party can request a spousal maintenance modification. Someone with knowledge of the current divorce laws in Illinois can add strength to your petition.


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