Spousal Maintenance Rules Have Changed in Illinois

A Chicago Divorce Attorney Provides Coverage of the Changes

As of January 1, 2015, new legislation has gone into effect regulating the duration and calculation of spousal maintenance for divorcing couples that earn a gross income of less than $250,000.

Judges still make spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony) decisions by considering 12 different statutory factors to help them figure out if an award is appropriate. But before this year, judges had sole discretion when it came to setting the reasonable duration and amount of a spousal maintenance award. This led to many differences in maintenance awards across counties throughout the state, and even on a judge-to-judge basis.

In response to this increasingly problematic issue, lawmakers in Illinois decided to draft new legislation to create more consistency throughout the state related to how spousal maintenance is awarded.

Part of this is the use of a new formula for determining spousal maintenance awards. Now, judges take 30 percent of the gross income of the payer and subtract 20 percent of the receiver’s gross income, with the difference being the amount of the award. However, an additional rule indicates that the total new income amount for the receiver cannot be greater than 40 percent of both parties' combined gross income.

There are also specific guidelines in place to determine the duration of spousal maintenance:

  • Five years or fewer: 20 percent of the length of the marriage
  • Five to 10 years: 40 percent
  • 10 to 15 years: 60 percent
  • 15 to 20 years: 80 percent
  • 20 years or more: Either permanent maintenance or matching the length of the marriage

Now, couples going through a divorce in Illinois can get a better idea of what they can expect to pay or receive in spousal maintenance after their divorce is finalized. For more information on these new rules and how they might impact your divorce, meet with a knowledgeable family law attorney at Arami Law. Call us today at (312) 584-6355 or contact us online.

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