With a divorce comes many difficult emotions and questions about the future. Whether it be concern over child-related issues, where to live, or finding a job, a lot of people fear the unknown. This can be an uneasy time, and especially for a spouse who was a stay-at-home parent or who relied on his or her partner’s income. There are laws that govern the financial support an ex-spouse may be able to receive after the end of the marriage. One spouse may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance payments, but it is important to understand how eligibility for spousal support is established, how the dollar amount of the payments is calculated, and how long maintenance will last. 

How Is Spousal Support Determined in Illinois?

Under Illinois law, what used to be called alimony or spousal support is now termed spousal maintenance. This type of support can be granted to either party. Illinois courts do not consider fault in connection with the divorce or any misconduct committed by either spouse during the marriage when determining whether a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance. When deciding whether to award maintenance, the court will consider certain factors, such as:

  • Each spouse’s income and property, including both marital and non-marital property;
  • The future earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The monetary needs of each party;
  • Anything that affects the earning capacity of a spouse, such as staying home to care for children;
  • The length of time it will take for a spouse to receive educational or vocational training to secure adequate employment;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • Tax consequences resulting from any property division, if applicable;
  • The ages and the physical and mental health of each spouse;
  • Whether or not the spouse asking for maintenance contributed in some manner to the education, training, or career of the other partner; and,
  • Any legal and binding agreement made between the spouses.  

As of January 1, 2019, the formula used to calculate spousal maintenance payments in Illinois is: (33.3% of the payor’s annual net income) – (25% of the payee’s annual net income) = amount of annual maintenance. However, when this amount of annual maintenance is added to the annual net income the payee is already receiving, the total amount cannot be more than 40% of the couple’s combined net income. 

How Long Can I Receive Spousal Maintenance?

Maintenance is meant to allow the receiving spouse to maintain their standard of living while acquiring skills to eventually become self-sufficient. It will typically be paid for a percentage of the length of the couple’s marriage. In some cases, maintenance can be ordered by the court for a period of time but then reviewed at a future date to determine if it should stay the same or be increased, decreased, or stopped entirely. However, the spouse receiving payments still must make an effort to find employment and be self-supporting. In general, maintenance payments are usually ended at some point by the court, rather than going on indefinitely. However, in some cases, if a spouse can prove a lasting inability to become self-supporting (such as if he or she can never obtain adequate employment due to a physical or mental disability), a court can order the maintenance payments to be permanent.

Contact a Hillside, IL Alimony Lawyer

Getting a divorce can be a difficult task for everyone involved. If you did not work during your marriage, you might be unsure about how to support yourself in the future. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to spousal support payments. The Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. has over 30 years of experience negotiating all kinds of divorce cases. Our knowledgeable Oak Park spousal maintenance attorney can help make sure you receive the support you need and deserve under the law. To schedule a free consultation, call 708-449-7400 today.