Divorce is often a life-altering event that could wreak havoc on the lives of both you and your spouse. However, when one spouse earns considerably more money than the other, the financial concerns may be imbalanced. Maintenance, commonly referred to as spousal support or alimony, is meant to address this imbalance and prevent the spouse who earns less from being unjustly penalized.

Navigating these parameters of maintenance can be quite complex. If you are interested in learning more about what you might be expected to pay or receive after your divorce, call a seasoned maintenance lawyer and let them shed some light on the matter.

Factors Determining Alimony Awards

The court determines whether alimony is appropriate based on several standard factors. After making this determination, the court then decides on a fair amount and duration of alimony pursuant to a statutory formula.

In Joliet, Illinois, Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“Act”) governs spousal support. Among other provisions, the Act identifies the factors that a court considers when deciding whether to award alimony. These factors include but are not always limited to:

  • Public and private income and property of you and your spouse
  • Marriage duration
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
  • Age, health, and needs of you and your spouse
  • Earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of you and your spouse
  • Amount of time away from the job market for the party seeking alimony
  • Contributions by the party seeking alimony to the education and/or career of the other party
  • Tax consequences of property division based on the economic position of you and your spouse

Alimony payments can have tax consequences for a divorcing couple, a fact that is often overlooked by the parties involved.  This will change under the new tax laws passed by Congress. Effective January 1, 2019, maintenance payments will no longer be deductible for federal income taxes. Prior to 2019, , the paying spouse is able to deduct the amount from taxable income, while the recipient is taxed on the payments received. If you are concerned about the tax ramifications of maintenance, you should speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

Calculating Alimony in Joliet

The Act also provides a statutory formula for calculating the amount and the duration of alimony payments based on your gross income and the length of your marriage to your spouse.

If you and your spouse’s combined gross income is less than $500,000, maintenance payments would amount to 30 percent of the paying spouse’s gross income less 20 percent of the recipient’s gross income, provided the recipient’s gross income after payment of alimony does not exceed 40 percent of your combined income. In cases where your combined gross income is greater than $500,000, though, the court may determine the spousal amount and duration at their discretion after weighing the aforementioned factors.

As for the duration of alimony payments, the calculation is based around certain multipliers depending on the length of the marriage. For example, the duration of your alimony for a marriage lasting less than five years would be 20 percent of the total length of the marriage. The multiplier increases to 44 percent for 10 years, 64 percent for 15 years, and so on up to 80 percent for 19 years.

For marriages that endure for at least 20 years, a maintenance award may equal the number of years of marriage, or it may be permanent. These calculations can be quite confusing, but an alimony attorney in Joliet could explain how they apply to your situation. The exact duration of your maintenance payment should be confirmed with an attorney. 

A Joliet Alimony Attorney Could Help with Spousal Support Concerns

To learn more about statutory guidelines and other requirements for determining spousal maintenance in Illinois, as well as what to expect in your case, call  Reidy Law today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our Joliet maintenance lawyers could evaluate your case and offer our opinion as to how the law applies to your particular scenario.