Prior to 2017’s enactment of a new spousal maintenance law, Illinois courts that were tasked with determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance awards were directed to make decisions based on a number of factors. Concerned that this state of affairs left too much discretion in the hands of individual judges, the Illinois Legislature amended the state law, so that courts must now use a certain formula when determining maintenance for couples whose income falls below a certain amount. To find out more about how the state’s new law could affect your own divorce, please contact an experienced Chicago spousal support lawyer who can assist you.
Maintenance laws updated again in 2018. Prior to the new law, courts were directed to apply a certain formula to determine maintenance if a couple’s gross income fell below $250,000. Now courts are required to apply this formula any time a couple’s gross income is less than $500,000. When a couple’s income falls below this threshold, courts calculate alimony by subtracting 20% of the payee’s gross income from 30% of the payor’s gross income. However, this number is not permitted to exceed 40% of the parties’ combined income.
Another significant change made by the new maintenance statutes involves how the duration of payments is determined. The duration of maintenance payments used to depend on the length of the marriage and were calculated in increments of five. If, for example, a couple had been married for five years, then the higher earning spouse would be required to pay alimony for an amount of time equal to 20% of the duration of the marriage. Alimony that was awarded after the dissolution of a marriage that lasted between five and nine years, however, was to be paid for an amount of time equaling 40% of the length of the marriage, while the duration of payments awarded for the dissolution of a marriages that lasted between 10 and 14 years, was determined by multiplying the length of the marriage by 60%, and so on.
While the length of time that someone must pay spousal maintenance still depends on the length of the marriage, the recently enacted amendments change the increments at which duration is calculated. For example, when a marriage has lasted less than five years, any alimony payments that are awarded must be paid for a length of time that equals 20% of the marriage. Alimony payments for marriages lasting longer than five, but less than six years, on the other hand, must be paid for a length of time that equals 24% of the number of years that the couple was married. Under the new formula, increments continue to increase by 4% for every year of marriage, unless a marriage lasted for more than 20 years, in which case, courts can either order alimony for a length of time equal to the duration of the marriage or for an indefinite amount of time. Call Today for a Free Consultation.
For help scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the dedicated Chicago maintenance lawyers at The Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C., please call a member of our legal team at 312-624-7645 today.