Spousal maintenance, spousal support, and alimony are all terms used to describe payments that one spouse may be ordered to pay to the other spouse as a result of a divorce. Typically, spousal maintenance is awarded when one spouse lacks sufficient income to support themselves in the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to during the marriage. Spousal maintenance may be awarded based on the directions contained in a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or other valid marital agreement or it may be awarded on a case-by-case basis by the court. If you have reason to believe that you or your spouse will have to pay spousal support, you may have many questions about the amount and duration of the payments.
When Does an Illinois Court Award Spousal Support?
If no valid marital agreement describes a spouse’s maintenance obligation, the court will decide whether or not maintenance is appropriate and necessary by weighing a number of factors. These factors typically include but are not limited to:
- The duration of the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Each spouse’s assets, income, present earning capacity, and future earning capacity
- Each spouse’s needs
- The contributions made by a spouse acting as a parent or homemaker
- Any contributions that one spouse to the other spouse’s education and/or career
- The time necessary for the spouse pursuing maintenance to achieve the education or training needed to gain employment
- Tax consequences of property division during divorce
- The age and health of both spouses
Spousal Maintenance Payments Are Typically Determined By Statutory Formula
Usually, the amount and duration of spousal maintenance payments are determined by statutory formulas. The amount of maintenance a spouse should receive is typically calculated by taking 33 1/3 percent of the payor spouse’s net income and subtracting 25 percent of the recipient’s net income. The amount of maintenance awarded to the recipient spouse cannot exceed 40 percent of the divorcing couple’s combined net income. However, courts do not always follow these statutory guidelines. If a divorcing couple’s combined gross yearly income exceeds $500,000, the court has the option to set a payment amount that it deems to be fair and reasonable based on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce.
The duration of maintenance payments is typically based on how long the couple was married. The longer the marriage, the longer maintenance payments will be ordered to continue. For marriages over 20 years in duration, the court may order maintenance indefinitely. A spouse’s maintenance obligation ends when the recipient spouse dies or gets remarried. Maintenance may also be eligible for termination if the recipient spouse cohabitates with a romantic partner.
Contact a DuPage County Spousal Support Lawyer
Whether you are the payor or recipient of spousal support, Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC can help. Call us today at 630-665-7300 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Wheaton family law attorney to discuss your needs.