How Long Does Alimony Last In Illinois?

Child Support

How long Does Alimony Last In Illinois

Undergoing a separation or divorce is a difficult experience, but if you have children with your spouse, it’s only critical to ensure the children continue living comfortably. That’s why the non-custodial parent is legally mandated to pay alimony. If you’re involved in a child support case, it’s understandable to ask yourself, “How long does alimony last in Illinois?”

There’s no standard time for alimony duration in Illinois. How long you pay spousal support depends on the specific circumstances of the case, particularly the length of the marriage. This article takes an in-depth look into the duration of alimony payments in Illinois, who pays child support, and how the payments are calculated.


How Long Does Alimony Last?

As specified in Illinois Family Law, the duration of spousal support depends on the length of the marriage. If both parents have been in marriage for less than five (5) years, child support payments last for 20% of the marriage duration. For a 9-10-year marriage, spousal maintenance lasts 40% of the marriage’s length. If the marriage is 20+ years, alimony payments last as long as the marriage’s duration or indefinitely.

That said, you can easily determine the exact duration of alimony by multiplying the length of the marriage by the corresponding percentage. The table below offers clearer information on how long you can expect to pay alimony based on the length of your marriage.

pay alimony based on the length of your marriage

While these are the numbers included in Illinois family law, the judge– under their own discretion and based on the facts of the case – may rule outside these statutes to ensure the custodial spouse receives the support they need to care for the children.

Which Parent Pays Child Support?

Under Illinois statute 750 III. Comp. § 5/505 (2022), the court establishes the amount each parent must contribute. The state of Illinois assumes that the custodial parent who gets primary physical custody of the child will spend the money directly on the child or children. Therefore, the non-custodial parent will pay alimony to the custodial parent.

In some circumstances, the court may grant shared physical custody to both parents – when each parent enjoys a significant time with the children. While this may satisfy both parents, the situation often results in high spousal support payments.

How Alimony is Calculated in Illinois

The Illinois Child Support Guidelines – Income Shares online page outlines the formula for calculating alimony. The state refers to alimony as maintenance, and you can find the equation in the maintenance section.

The state also offers a Child Support Estimator that you can use to calculate the estimated amount you expect to pay. However, the resulting amount is only an estimated figure that gives you a rough idea of the child-maintenance amount based on the numbers you enter. Still, separating or divorcing parents can have an out-of-the-court agreement on an amount each of them contributes, but the judge must approve it.

Below are the basic steps for computing child support payments in Illinois:

Determine Each Parent’s Net Income

This begins by calculating each parent’s gross income from all sources. You can then use the conversion table for a standardized net income, which the state updates yearly based on tax deductions. Alternatively, you can calculate the individual net income based on your deduction, although both spouses must agree on this or through a court order.

Adjustments to Each Parent’s Net Incomes

Reviewing each parent’s net income only applies when one or both parents pay alimony in other past relationships. Therefore, there might also be adjustments in the child support amount they are required to pay.

Child Support Obligation

Depending on the total adjusted income from both parents, the Income Shares guidelines indicate the basic amount for spousal maintenance. Afterward, each parent’s contribution to the total alimony is determined based on their share of the total net income, usually expressed as a percentage.

Methods for Calculating Alimony

In Illinois, the court may use two methods to calculate the basic child support amount and how much each parent must contribute.

Child Support Guidelines Method

The guideline method follows a standard formula when calculating the amount of spousal maintenance. It’s as follows:
(33.3% of the non-custodial parent’s monthly net income) – (25% of the custodial parent’s monthly net income) = Monthly alimony payment
The monthly child support payments can’t be more than 40% of the payer’s monthly net income. The guideline method also specifies how long the alimony should last based on the length of the marriage.

Non-Guideline Method

With the Non-Guideline Method, the court deviates from the standard guidelines when calculating alimony. This approach is usually exercised when both parties make over $500,000 annual net income. The judge may also exercise the non-guideline method when determining a parent’s alimony contribution after adjusting their monthly net income because they pay child support from a previous case.

When using this method, the court must first state how much each parent’s maintenance fee would have been under the standard Illinois Child Support Guidelines and why it deems it fit to deviate from those guidelines.

Factors Considered When Awarding Alimony

Before awarding alimony, the court must first establish whether each parent will receive child support payments. It does that while considering several variables, including:

  • Each parent’s needs
  • Each parent’s net income, assets, and debts
  • The length of the marriage
  • The living standards while the marriage lasted
  • Any drawbacks in the receiving party’s earning capacity due to delayed education or unemployment because of domestic duties.
  • The recipient’s current and future earnings
  • The effect of child custody on each party’s ability to maintain employment
  • The tax obligations of each party
  • The recipient’s contribution to the payer’s education, training, employment, or license
  • All sources of private and public income, such as retirement and disability benefits
  • Any valid agreement or understanding between both parties

How Can a Lawyer Help in a Child Support Case?

With so many factors to be considered, it can be challenging to know whether the court will rule your child support case in your favor. However, a Reidy attorney can help you tilt the case on your side or lower your monthly alimony payments.

Reidy Law Office attorneys are well-versed and experienced in child-related cases, including custody, visitation, and maintenance. Adjustments in child support typically require a court hearing before a judge. We can take an in-depth analysis of your case, prepare the hearing, gather the relevant evidence, and advocate on your behalf in court.

Although child support guidelines determine the non-custodial parent’s contribution to the maintenance, the child support amount may be inappropriate or beyond your means. A lawyer can convince the judge to deviate from the guidelines by proving why you need to decrease or increase your alimony award.