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How Long Can Spousal Maintenance Last After an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

McHenry County divorce attorney spousal maintenanceWhen two people decide to legally end their marriage, it can dramatically change their lifestyle. If one spouse earned a high salary and the other partner stayed home to raise their children, for example, this can impact the divorce settlement. In Illinois, maintenance or spousal support, which was previously called alimony, refers to payments made by one spouse to the other after a divorce to allow both spouses to live at a standard similar to what they enjoyed while married. Typically, spousal support is awarded in cases where there is a significant difference between the spouses’ incomes. If a couple cannot come to an agreement on their own regarding spousal maintenance, the court may intervene. A judge will look at several factors when determining if this type of financial support is appropriate.

What Are the Determining Factors?

The purpose of awarding maintenance is for each spouse to be in an equal (or somewhat equal) financial situation after the divorce. When making this determination, a judge must review each spouse’s income, taking into consideration child support obligations and whether the requesting spouse actually needs financial assistance. In general, the court will look at the following factors when making a decision about maintenance:

  • Both spouses’ income and any property awarded in the divorce settlement

  • A spouse’s need for support

  • The current and future earning capacity of each spouse

  • Any hindrance to the potential earning capacity of the spouse requesting maintenance

  • The standard of living during the marriage

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The amount of time the spouse requesting maintenance will need to become self-supporting

  • Each spouse’s age and physical and emotional health

  • The tax consequences of property division in the divorce

  • A spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education or career advancement during the marriage

What Is the Duration of Spousal Support Payments?

Depending on the circumstances, the court can order payments for a definite or indefinite period of time. Typically, maintenance will last for a certain percentage of the length of the marriage, with the percentage used being defined in Illinois law.

In some cases, the court will order permanent or indefinite spousal support. This typically occurs in marriages that lasted at least 20 years, but indefinite maintenance may also be awarded if a spouse is unable to support himself or herself after the divorce due to illness, advanced age, or other health conditions.

What Is the Formula for Calculating the Amount of Maintenance?

The formula used to calculate spousal support in Illinois is as follows: (33.3 percent of the payor’s net annual income) – (25 percent of the payee’s net annual income) = the yearly amount paid. However, maintenance, when added to the payee’s income, cannot cause a spouse to receive more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

Just like with marriage, every divorce is unique, so each settlement will be different depending on the circumstances of the case. In some cases, maintenance will be awarded to one of the spouses. If you believe spousal support will be a factor in your divorce, it is important to understand your rights. At the Thomas Law Office, Attorney Colleen Thomas has more than 25 years of experience representing clients in divorce and family law matters. Our dedicated and compassionate McHenry County maintenance lawyer will advocate on your behalf to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call us today at 847-426-7990 to schedule your private consultation.