Alimony / Maintenance
Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, are payments made from one ex-partner to the other after a divorce. Traditionally, wives were the primary recipients of alimony in a divorce, as women often made less income than their husbands or may have sacrificed their own careers in favor of staying at home with their children. Today, it is not uncommon for wives to be the primary breadwinner for the family. Consequently, it has become more common for husbands to request maintenance from their wives.
At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., we are experienced in representing both husbands and wives in spousal support matters. Whether you are seeking to obtain maintenance from your spouse or wish to contest paying spousal support, our attorneys have the skill and knowledge to strongly represent your interests.
On January 1, 2015, a new law pertaining to maintenance went into effect. Previously, calculations for maintenance awards were left to the discretion of the court based on a number of subjective standards. The new law implements a statutory formula for determining the amount and duration of a maintenance award. The total amount of annual maintenance is calculated as follows: 20 percent of the payee’s gross income is subtracted from 30 percent of the payor’s gross income. The difference is then added to the payee’s gross income, and the sum must not be more than 40 percent of the combined gross income of both parties.
For Example: If one spouse makes $100,000 and the other spouse makes $25,000, the calculation would be $30,000 (30 percent of $100,000) - $5,000 (20 percent of $25,000) = $25,000. $25,000 + $25,000 (payee’s gross income) = $50,000. $50,000/$125,000 (the combined gross income) is 0.4, or 40 percent, which is the statutory limit for a maintenance award. In this example, the annual maintenance award would be $25,000. For monthly payments, which are standard, that figure is divided by 12.
The duration of a spousal support award is now also determined by statute. The formula used is the length of the marriage in years multiplied by the appropriate factor:
|Length of Marriage||Factor|
Either permanent maintenance
or maintenance equal to the length
of the marriage. (Based on the court's
For a marriage that lasted 12 years, for example, the maintenance award would be 7.2 years (12 x 0.6 = 7.2).
The law does not change the standards for determining if spousal support is appropriate. The court will still use its discretion to decide if maintenance should be awarded. The court considers numerous factors when making this determination, including evaluating the current and future earning potential for each party, the needs of each party, and any impediments to past, present and future earning potential. The court will also consider the standard of living that was established during the marriage.
Illinois maintenance laws will be changing again in 2016. Senate Bill 57 will take effect on January 1, 2016. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act amendment regarding maintenance will only allow for a fixed term maintenance award for marriages lasting ten years or less. Under current law, maintenance orders may be subject to modification if a party files a motion, regardless of the length of the marriage.
To learn more about spousal maintenance or alimony in Illinois and how we can assist you, contact our attorneys at 630-953-3000 to schedule a free consultation. We will answer your questions and explain what you can expect in your situation. Our firm is located in Naperville, Illinois, and we work with clients throughout DuPage and Will Counties. We also handle matters in Cook, Kane, and Kendall Counties.