If you are ordered by an Illinois court to pay alimony, then you must pay. However, you can try to prevent this order in the first place by planning ahead. According to the Illinois State Bar Association, there are certain things you can do to help reduce the chances of being responsible for paying alimony.
It is important for you to understand the basic laws regarding spousal maintenance. In general, it is based on how long you have been married. Longer marriages tend to get alimony awards while shorter marriages do not. So, if you have not been married very long and can see there is no future for your relationship, it is better to end the marriage now instead of drawing it out.
If you have serious concerns about protecting your assets and finances from before your marriage, then you may get a prenuptial agreement. You can also use this document to come to an agreement that no alimony will be paid in the event of a divorce. If you are already married, you can draw up a similar post-nuptial agreement.
It will also help if your spouse works. It is common for one spouse to be the main breadwinner while the other stays home with the children. While this may be nice during the marriage, it also sets you up to pay alimony if you are the only spouse working. The idea behind spousal support used to be that it was used to help women who had never worked survive financially after a divorce due to the difficulties they would find in securing employment. While both men and women pay support these days, this idea still drives the court orders. So, if your spouse works, too, you can help lower the chances that he or she can get alimony. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.