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Calculating Spousal Maintenance in an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerDivorce can cause a great deal of upheaval in a person’s life, and the prospect of single life can be especially stressful someone who earns less than their ex-spouse or who has chosen to care for children rather than work outside the home. Fortunately, Illinois law allows a lower-earning spouse to receive maintenance (which is also known as alimony) from their ex-spouse which will provide them with a standard of living that is close to what they enjoyed while they were married.

Calculating the Amount and Duration of Maintenance Payments Under Illinois Law

On January 1, 2018, a few recent changes to Illinois law went into effect, making some adjustments to the statutes governing spousal maintenance. The formula used to calculate the amount of maintenance in Illinois is now used when spouses earn a combined income of less than $500,000 (this was raised from $250,000), and the methods for determining the duration of maintenance were also updated.

The amount of maintenance payments is determined by calculating 30% of the higher-earning spouse’s gross income and subtracting 20% of the lower-earning spouse’s gross income. The maintenance payment, when added to the receiving spouse’s gross income, cannot exceed 40% of the spouses’ combined income.

Under the previous law, the duration of maintenance was determined by calculating a percentage of the length of the parties’ marriage at the time one of the spouses filed for divorce, with percentages used being broken into five-year increments. The new law now specifies a percentage for each year of marriage between five years and 20 years. For marriages of 20 years or more, maintenance will be paid for the length of the marriage or for an indefinite period.

An Example of Spousal Maintenance Calculations

To see how these calculations work in practice, consider the following example: Spouse A makes $150,000 per year, and Spouse B makes $40,000 per year, and they are divorcing after a marriage which lasted 12 years and six months. Subtracting 20% of $40,000 ($8,000) from 30% of $150,000 ($45,000) results in $37,000. However, 40% of the spouses’ combined income of $190,000 is $76,000, so Spouse B will only receive $36,000 in maintenance each year. 

For marriages between 12 and 13 years, the percentage used to determine the duration of maintenance is 52%. The marriage lasted for 150 months, so maintenance payments will be paid for 78 months, or six years and six months.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer

There are a number of factors that determine whether a spouse is eligible for maintenance, and calculating the correct amount of maintenance payments can be a complex process. If you need to ensure that you will be able to support yourself following your divorce, the knowledgeable, experienced attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. will work with you to make sure you understand your rights and obligations and advocate for your best interests in court. Contact a Wheaton spousal maintenance attorney at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.



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