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How Is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

Illinois divorce lawyerWhen two people decide to divorce, one of the most common questions that comes up is the issue of the payment of maintenance , a form of spousal support in Illinois. While not every divorce will result in someone paying spousal support, many will. Whether you will be the one receiving the support or making the support payment, it is a smart idea to be familiar with how maintenance works in Illinois before you finalize your divorce.

Step One: Maintenance Award

An Illinois court will consider many different factors when assessing whether spousal support is warranted. These factors may be found in Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Some of these factors include:

  • The current and future earning potential of both spouses;
  • The ability of both spouses to support themselves on their own incomes post-divorce (for example, one spouse may need to go back to school to update their credentials in their field);
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age of each spouse;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage based upon combined income and lifestyle, in general; and
  • Any other issue that the court finds to be just and equitable.

Step Two: Amount and Duration of Maintenance

Since 2016, Illinois courts have used guidelines to calculate the payment amount and duration of maintenance awards. The court may refuse to apply the guidelines under certain conditions. However, if payment of guideline support is appropriate, two calculations will be made using the gross income of the parties and the length of the marriage.

Part I: How Much Is Enough?

If the combined gross income of the parties is $499,000 or less, the maintenance payment is calculated by taking into consideration both parties’ incomes. Remember, gross income is the amount received from all sources, without deducting taxes, health insurance premiums, union dues, or other common payroll deductions. The general formula used to calculate the amount payable is to compute 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the payee’s gross income. However, the amount payable is capped at 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.

For example, if Spouse A earns $10,000 per month before deductions, and Spouse B earns $2,000, the most that Spouse A would be required to pay to Spouse B is $2,800 under the guidelines. (($10,000 + 2,000) * 40%) - $2,000 = $2,800) This is Spouse A’s maximum exposure. However, in reality when the formula is applied, Spouse A would only pay to Spouse B $2,600 per month in maintenance, calculated as follows: ($10,000 * 30%) – ($2,000*20%) = $2,600; $2000 + $2,600 = $4,600 which is $200 less than the 40% cap of $4,800.

Part II: For How Long?:

The duration of the maintenance award is calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage at the time of the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage by the follows percentage:

  • Less than 5 years - 20%
  • 5 -6 years – 24%
  • 6 – 7 years – 28%
  • 7-8 years – 32%
  • 8-9 years – 36%
  • 9-10 years - 40%
  • 10-11 years – 44%
  • 11-12 years – 48%
  • 12 – 13 years – 52%
  • 13-14 years – 56%
  • 15-16 years – 64%
  • 16-17 years – 68%
  • 17-18 years – 72%
  • 18-19 years – 76%
  • 19-20 years – 80%
  • 20 years or more – possibly indefinite

Contact a Knowledgeable Spousal Maintenance Attorney

You may be wondering if you need an attorney if the Court is only going to apply guideline calculations to your divorce? While spousal maintenance awards may appear routine, in reality, they are anything but routine. One of our dedicated DuPage County divorce attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. will be able to help you understand the maintenance laws and how they are applied by the Illinois judges. Understanding how a court may be persuaded to NOT apply guideline support or, on the other hand, enlisting the help of an experienced attorney to convince a court to rely on the guidelines will better prepare you for your future. Let our lawyers help you. Contact us today to set up an appointment for your free initial consultation at 630-472-9700.



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