Negotiating all the details of a divorce can take an emotional and financial toll on both spouses. Discussing financial topics can cause friction even in an amicable divorce.
One of the most contentious topics involves the allocation of alimony. Alimony in Illinois is referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance. Spousal support maintenance is governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
If you have questions about calculating spousal support, Vantage Group Legal Services can assist.
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Four Types of Spousal Support Available in Illinois
The law allows for four main types of alimony in Illinois: temporary, fixed-term, reviewable, and permanent.
Temporary alimony, or temporary maintenance, is financial support awarded to one spouse while the dissolution is pending. Once the divorce is final, temporary alimony stops. The purpose of temporary maintenance is to provide assistance for the recipient spouse’s living expenses until the divorce is final. The court typically awards temporary alimony in situations where the spouses are already living apart. While you can submit a temporary alimony request during the divorce, including it in the initial filing is best.
Courts award fixed-term alimony for a specified amount of time. The idea is to help one spouse become financially self-supporting. The court might award fixed-term alimony to a spouse who:
- Has limited earning capacity and needs to start training or pursue education to maintain their accustomed standard of living once spousal support ends;
- Gave up their career to take over homemaking responsibilities or raise children; or
- Gave up training opportunities or education during the marriage in reliance of the other spouse’s income.
Every situation is different. If you believe your case qualifies for fixed-term alimony, Vantage Group Legal Services can help.
Reviewable alimony shares some similarities with fixed-term alimony. Rather than being awarded for a fixed duration, the court conducts a periodic review. The support could continue, provided the recipient demonstrates they have been making good-faith efforts to become self-supporting. An example where reviewable alimony might be appropriate is for a spouse with childrearing responsibilities that interfere with their ability to get training or education without interruption.
Permanent alimony is also called indefinite alimony. This alimony is a financial support award that continues for the remainder of the recipient’s life. However, it is available only in cases where a marriage lasted for at least 20 years. In certain circumstances, such as the recipient spouse’s remarriage, the court might terminate the award, which is why indefinite alimony is the more appropriate term.
Illinois Maintenance Calculator for Spousal Support
In most cases, calculating spousal support payments is done using a simple formula: 33% of the payer’s net income minus 25% of the recipient’s net income equals the yearly maintenance paid. There is one condition, though. The receiving spouse is not eligible to earn more than 40% of the couple’s combined income. Determining how long payments could continue is subject to another formula.
The duration of spousal support payments primarily depends on how long the marriage lasted. The payment period is calculated as a percentage of the total number of years married. The percentage increases as the length of marriage increases. The table is:
- Married less than five years: 20%;
- Married 5 years: 24%;
- Married 6 years: 28%;
- Married 7 years: 32%;
- Married 8 years: 36%;
- Married 9 years: 40%;
- Married 10 years: 44%;
- Married 11 years: 48%;
- Married 12 years: 52%;
- Married 13 years: 56%;
- Married 14 years: 60%;
- Married 15 years: 64%;
- Married 16 years: 68%;
- Married 17 years: 72%;
- Married 18 years: 76%;
- Married 19 years: 80%; and
- Married 20 years or more: Courts can opt for permanent spousal support or for a period equal to the marriage’s length.
Consider the example of a marriage that lasted ten years. Spousal support can continue for 44% of the length of the marriage. That means spousal support could continue for 4.4 years.
The Illinois maintenance calculator is a guideline. It’s not absolute as the courts may also rely on other factors when deciding the amount of spousal support. Exceptions to this formula also exist. For example, couples who earn more than $500,000 or a spouse already paying previous child support orders might not be subject to the calculator guidelines.
Factors that Impact Alimony in Illinois
Courts consider various factors when determining the appropriate amount to award in spousal support. The most notable factors include each party’s needs, how long the marriage lasted, and each party’s income, assets, and debts. However, they aren’t the only factors. Other things that can impact spousal support in Illinois include:
- The standard of living is established throughout the marriage;
- Each party’s age, occupation, health, employability, and skills;
- The recipient spouse’s current and future earning capacity;
- Any valid agreement between the parties;
- The amount of time necessary for the recipient spouse to get a formal education, training, and a job;
- Effects of any child custody orders that could impact either spouse’s ability to keep a job;
- Potential tax consequences to both parties.
- Any limitations on the paying spouse’s ability to pay support;
- Any limitations or delays on the receiving party’s ability to get training or education due to domestic and marriage duties;
- The recipient spouse’s contributions to the marriage during the paying party’s training, education, career, or professional licenses; and
- Any sources of other private or public income such as retirement accounts or disability payments.
This list is not exhaustive, as the court has the latitude to use any other factors it deems just and equitable.
Contact Us for Affordable Legal Representation for Your Alimony in Illinois Matter
You don’t have to decide between representing yourself and spending a fortune on attorney fees to get assistance with spousal support in Illinois. At Vantage Group Legal Services, we offer a subscription-based legal service. We will match you with an experienced in-network Illinois family law attorney who will represent you.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to learn more. Obtaining a spousal support order is not guaranteed in Illinois. You need an experienced lawyer who can help when you need it most.