Spousal Maintenance Determinations

Money is one of the most highly contested issues in nearly every divorce. When it comes to spousal maintenance (sometimes called alimony or spousal support), it pays to make sure you have a skilled divorce attorney fighting for your financial interests.

Whether you are on the paying or receiving end, you can rely on The Law Offices of Van A. Schwab. For more than 39 years, our founding spousal support attorney has been representing men and women in divorce and support cases throughout Chicagoland and beyond.

Is Spousal Maintenance Warranted In Your Case?

Maintenance, which is sometimes referred to as alimony, has been discretionary in Illinois for years. This enabled judges to make a choice as to whether or not maintenance is appropriate. Recognizing a need for greater certainty, the spousal maintenance law was revised as part of a massive revision of Illinois family law statutes.

The new spousal maintenance law initially makes a determination of whether spousal maintenance is warranted by applying a series of factors, including:

  • Financial resources available to both parties
  • The needs of each party
  • The current and future earning capacity of each party
  • Any impairment that could compromise the earning capacity of the prospective obligor
  • The amount of time that would be required for the person seeking maintenance to obtain education, training and employment
  • Each party's contributions to the marriage, including the "homemaker contribution"
  • Standard of living throughout the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age, physical and emotional condition of both spouses
  • Other potential sources of income, including disability, pension and other retirement income

If spousal maintenance is appropriate, the Illinois family law courts then apply statutory guidelines, which will dictate the final amount of maintenance as well as how long it will be awarded.

How Maintenance Is Calculated Under The New Illinois Law

If you or your spouse qualifies for spousal maintenance, the judge will use the following framework when determining what level of maintenance is appropriate.

Essentially, this law provides a formula for how to calculate support in cases where the spouses' combined incomes are $250,000 or less. In calculating the amount of a spousal support award, it subtracts 20 percent of the recipient's gross income from 30 percent of the payer's gross income. However, the spousal support plus the recipient's gross income cannot exceed 40 percent of both parties' combined gross income.

In determining the length of the spousal support order, the new law will look at how many years the spouses were married. If the marriage lasted 20 years or more, a support order may be permanent. The length of maintenance is calculated as follows:

  • Zero to five years of marriage: Maintenance duration is calculated by multiplying the years of the marriage by .20.
  • Five to 10 years of marriage: Maintenance duration is calculated by multiplying the years of the marriage by .40.
  • 10 to 15 years of marriage: Maintenance duration is calculated by multiplying the years of the marriage by .60.
  • 15 to 20 years of marriage: Maintenance duration is calculated by multiplying the years of marriage by .80.
  • 20 years or greater: Maintenance may last as long as the marriage or be made permanent.

Can Your Maintenance Be Terminated?

There are several acts that could terminate maintenance early. Maintenance could be cut off early if you marry somebody else or if you cohabitate with another person in a conjugal manner, regardless of whether that person is of the opposite sex or the same sex. The two parties need not be involved in a sexual relationship for the court to determine that the relationship is conjugal in nature.

Learn More In A Consultation With Our Lawyer

We invite you to schedule a consultation with attorney Van A. Schwab. You can openly and honestly discuss your situation and concerns while obtaining his professional, straightforward counsel regarding your rights and options.

Simply call us at 312-702-1745 (in Chicago) or 847-208-4569 (in Skokie, Deerfield or Libertyville), or send us an email today.