Illinois Maintenance (Alimony): How Much and How Long
November 20, 2019 | Divorce, Property, Wealth
Maintenance (Alimony) is support one spouse pays to the other after divorce. After a court has made a determination that maintenance is appropriate for one spouse, then the court must decide how much maintenance that spouse will receive and for how long the spouse will receive it.
In order to decide these issues, courts will look at the Maintenance Guidelines set forth by Illinois statute. Maintenance Guidelines became law January 1, 2015 and have been modified since then. The guidelines were enacted to try to provide uniformity in maintenance amounts across Illinois. Each judge is required to follow the guidelines (for spouses with a combined gross income of less than $500,000.00 per year) unless the judge finds after consideration of statutory factors that non-guideline maintenance is appropriate due to the unique circumstances of the case. Factors include the needs of each party, the income and property of each party, the present and future earning capacity of each party, and the standard of living established during the marriage.
The amount of maintenance is derived by a formula. The crucial factor in determining maintenance in Illinois is each party’s net income. The formula takes 33% of the higher age earner’s yearly net income minus 25% of the lower wage earner’s income. The difference is the yearly maintenance amount which then must be divided by 12 to reach the monthly amount. The formula looks like this:
HigherIncome x .33 – LowerIncome x .25 / 12
Also, the yearly maintenance amount must be added to the yearly net income of the person receiving maintenance. The maintenance amount cannot push the net income above 40% of the combined net income of the two parties. If it does, then the maintenance will be capped at the amount where the maintenance and net income equals 40% of the parties combined net income.
Since formulas are onerous, this website will calculate the maintenance and provides a good resource for getting a ballpark idea of the amount of maintenance that will be paid.
The duration of maintenance is determined by the length of the marriage and is also calculated by formula. Essentially, the longer the marriage, the longer the maintenance. For example, a marriage of 10 years will have a maintenance term of approximately 4 1/2 years, and a 19 year marriage will have approximately 15 years of maintenance. A marriage over 20 years will have a maintenance term equal to the length of the marriage or the court can award indefinite maintenance. This website will calculate the length of maintenance.
Maintenance may be reviewed at the end of the term. For example, if maintenance was for a period of 5 years, the court could review the circumstances at the end of the 5 years to determine if maintenance should be extended.
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