Also known as alimony, spousal maintenance is a series of payments made from one former spouse to the other during or following a divorce. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to help the receiving spouse become financially independent following a marriage in which their quality of life was dependent on the paying spouse’s income.
The amount and length of spousal maintenance depend on a few factors and this article briefly examines these factors. If you have questions about spousal maintenance, contact an experienced divorce attorney.
How Is the Amount of Spousal Maintenance Payments Determined?
The first factor that judges use to determine spousal maintenance payments is whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement exists. These agreements may have provisions concerning maintenance payments and unless there is a problem with the agreement itself, the provision regarding maintenance will likely be legally binding.
Other factors a court will consider include:
- The current income, assets, and earning potential of each spouse
- The legitimate needs of each spouse
- The length and standard of living of the marriage
- Whether the potential recipient sacrificed educational or career opportunities on behalf of the family’s well-being during the marriage
- How soon the potentially receiving spouse is likely to become self-supporting
If spousal maintenance is deemed appropriate by the judge, he or she will make a decision about the duration and amount of the payments. This calculation primarily depends on the amount of the spouses’ combined income.
If the combined annual income is less than $500,000, maintenance payments are calculated using a formula that subtracts 25 percent of the recipient spouse’s net income from 33 percent of the paying spouse’s net income. Maintenance payments cannot exceed 40 percent of the spouses’ combined annual net income. If a couple’s combined annual income exceeds $500,00 a judge may deviate from the formula and make a decision based on the couple’s circumstances and what would be equitable.
How long payments last is primarily determined by the length of the marriage, and there is also a formula to determine this. Longer marriages generally allow for longer periods of maintenance payments. However, if a receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with a new partner, maintenance payments terminate altogether.
Speak with a DuPage County Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce and wonder whether you will be entitled to alimony, speak with a skilled Hinsdale, IL divorce attorney with [[title]]. We can help you understand the probable financial consequences of divorce and create a plan that protects your interests. Schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys. Call us at 630-920-8855 today.