If you are choosing to get divorced, one of the most important issues before the court is often how much, if any, spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) should be awarded. Like many other areas of family law in Illinois, spousal maintenance law has changed in the recent years.

The law can have profound impacts on calculating spousal maintenance, especially for couples whose combined gross income is under $250,000. However, a spousal maintenance lawyer could answer questions you have about how the new guidelines could affect your specific situation in Bolingbrook. Work a skilled family lawyer that could advocate for you.

Illinois Spousal Maintenance Laws

Under the spousal maintenance guidelines, judges in Will County would look at a set of factors listed in the Illinois Code and determine the appropriate amount of spousal maintenance. These same set of factors are still listed in Section 5/504 of the Illinois Code, and include:

  • The property and income of each spouse
  • Age, physical health and emotional well-being of each spouse, as well as their physical and financial needs
  • The length and standard of living of the marriage being dissolved
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • Tax consequences of any property division that will occur during the divorce
  • Any reduction in earning capacity caused by a spouse choosing to raise children
  • Any contributions towards a maintenance-seeking spouse’s education, licensing, or career made by the spouse who may pay that maintenance
  • Any existing—and legally enforceable—agreements between the two spouses

However, these factors are now only used to determine if spousal maintenance should be awarded, and not the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid. If a judge determines that spousal maintenance is appropriate given the previous factors, only then will the judge apply a specific formula to the two spouses’ income.

Under 750 ILCS 5/504, remember the phrase, 30 minus 20 but no more than 40. The 30 applies to the spouse with higher income, who is called the payor. The 20 applies to the spouse with lower income called the payee. The 40 is 40 percent of the combined gross incomes of the couple. A judge will calculate an appropriate maintenance amount by taking 30 percent of the gross income of the payor and subtract 20 percent of the gross income of the payee. Importantly, spousal maintenance cannot exceed 40 percent of the couple’s combined gross income. For example, if the husband earns $70,000 gross per year and the wife earns $30,000 gross per year, the most the wife can receive from the husband under the guidelines is $10,000 because it would give her 40 percent of the gross combined income, $40,000.

How Long Should Maintenance Last?

After determining the appropriate amount of spousal maintenance, the judge will then determine the appropriate time period. Again, Illinois law provides a specific formula for determining the length of this period. For marriages dissolved in under five years, spousal maintenance should last for 20 percent of the time the spouses were married. Therefore, if you were married for five years exactly, then spousal maintenance in your case should last for one year under this formula.

For marriages between five and ten years in length, spousal maintenance should last for 40 percent of the time. If the marriage lasted ten to 15 years, then spousal maintenances should last for 60 percent of the time. For marriages lasting between 15 and 20 years, the figure increases to 80 percent of the total time the divorcing couple were married. These are general guidelines and could be different in each situation, a Bolingbrook spousal maintenance lawyer could answer questions that individuals may have about alimony guidelines.

How a Spousal Maintenance Attorney Could Help

Despite the prevalence of these formulas, judges in Illinois still have wide discretion to disregard the results if there are unique factors in your family’s situation. It is also important to understand that proper negotiation could get you better terms than the guidelines. To learn more about how spousal maintenance is calculated or if any of the exceptions to these guidelines apply to your case in Bolingbrook, contact a spousal maintenance lawyer at Reidy Law Office LLC today.