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Understanding How Spousal Maintenance Is Calculated in Illinois

Alimony – called spousal maintenance in Illinois – does not factor into every divorce, but it does play an important financial role in some. If one spouse’s finances are adversely affected by the divorce, and the other spouse has the financial ability to help, spousal maintenance may be ordered. Better understanding how spousal maintenance is calculated can help you better understand its application in your own divorce, and an experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help you with that. 

The Purpose of Spousal Maintenance

The idea behind spousal maintenance is to allow the recipient to gain financial independence – often via the pursuit of higher education or the acquisition of job skills. The factors taken into consideration in the determination of whether or not alimony (spousal support) is appropriate in the divorce at hand include:

  • The length of the marriage and the standard of living established
  • The income and separate property of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s age, overall physical and mental health, and any other personal factors that could affect either spouse’s overall employability
  • The level of financial need experienced by each spouse
  • Each spouse’s earning potential (both current and ongoing)
  • Any negative financial consequences experienced by the spouse seeking alimony (in terms of staying home with the children, for example)
  • The amount of time required for the spouse seeking maintenance to be ready for the work world
  • The tax implications of the proposed division of marital property
  • Any agreements entered into through either a prenup or postnup
  • Any contributions the spouse requesting support made to the other’s earning power (such as working to put the other through school)
  • Any other matters the court considers relevant to the case at hand 

The Alimony Calculation Formula in Illinois

Generally, when alimony is deemed appropriate, it is calculated according to basic guidelines. In Illinois, this means beginning with 33 percent of the paying spouse’s annual net income and subtracting it by 25 percent of the receiving spouse’s annual net income, which renders the amount of yearly alimony to be paid. An important condition that applies, however, is that the alimony amount cannot leave the recipient with income that exceeds 40 percent of both spouse’s combined net incomes. 

The duration of spousal maintenance in Illinois is calculated as a percentage of the marriage’s length. Consider the following:

  • If you and your spouse were married for fewer than 5 years, the duration of your alimony will be 20 percent of that amount. 
  • If you and your spouse were married for 10 years, the duration of your alimony will be 44 percent of that amount. 
  • If you and your spouse were married for more than 20 years, the court has the discretion to either order permanent alimony or to order alimony that lasts for the length of the marriage itself. 

Turn to an Experienced Illinois Spousal Maintenance Attorney for the Help You Need

The savvy Illinois spousal maintenance attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, have an impressive track record of helping clients like you resolve their alimony concerns favorably (in accordance with their legal rights). Your case is important, so please reach out and contact us for more information today.

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