Alimony or spousal support, which is the term used for legal purposes, is a payment to a former spouse to assist him or her with living expenses. Not every divorce will include spousal support, but if the court finds it is necessary, it can award it.
According to the Illinois General Assembly, the court does not consider any type of misconduct in the marriage as a grounds for determining whether to award spousal support. The court can either make support payable through payments or through assets. The law does provide specific guidelines for the length and amount of payments that the court will need to follow.
Duration of support
The court has a calculation it must use to determine how long a person will pay spousal support. It depends on the length of the marriage. The court will take this number and multiply it by a decimal that corresponds with the number of years in the marriage. For example, the court will multiply the length of the marriage by 0.20 for a marriage that lasted less than five years and for a marriage that lasts 19 to 20 years, the court multiplies by 0.80.
For marriages with a duration of 20 years or more, the court may award lifetime support or for the length of the actual marriage.
Amount of support
For couples with a total combined income under $500,000 with no child support award, the court will award spousal support by using the calculation of 33 1/2% of the income of the person who will pay the support minus 25% of the income of the person receiving the support. There is a cap on the amount of alimony, though. The amount cannot be more than 40% of the total combined income of the couple.
If the couple does have children, then the court will have to follow guidelines set for child support to ensure a fair distribution of payments for spousal support and child support.