Illinois Alimony / Spousal Maintenance

The attorneys at The Law Office of J. Patrick Nelson, PC has extensive experience with handling cases involving spousal maintenance. Whether maintenance is granted or denied will depend on the specific facts of each case. Our attorneys understand the complexity of maintenance, formerly known as alimony, and help clients negotiate and determine the best possible outcome. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation.

How is Maintenance Determined in an Illinois Divorce?

One of the most important issues in a divorce is whether or not Maintenance a allowed. If you are entitled to maintenance we will make sure you receive it. You should receive what you are entitled to under the statute. At The Law Office of J. Patrick Nelson, PC, we utilize all the latest tools and employ the most update strategies to ensure you receive everything you are owed.

Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, may be ordered pursuant to the 12 statutory factors enumerated in Section 5/504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The statutory factors are as follows:

  1. income and property of each party;
  2. needs of each party;
  3. present and future earning capacity of each party;
  4. any impairment to earning capacity (including the effect of any parental responsibility arrangements and its effects on a party's ability to seek or maintain employment);
  5. time needed to get appropriate training and education for employment;
  6. standard of living during the marriage;
  7. duration of the marriage;
  8. age, physical and emotional health of each party;
  9. tax consequences;
  10. contributions and services by each party;
  11. agreements between the parties;
  12. any other fact that the court finds to be just and equitable.

2015 Illinois Law Establishing Spousal Maintenance Guidelines

Effective January 1, 2015, a new law amended section 504 of the IMDMA and drastically changed how maintenance is determined. The new law, P.A. 98-0961, has undergone several changes and creates a formula for calculating maintenance for couples whose combine gross income is less than $500,000. The formula is similar to the statutory guidelines used for determining child support. The court must first determine if an award of maintenance is appropriate, after consideration of all relevant factors, including the statutory factors listed above.

2019 Amendment to Statutory Maintenance Guidelines based on changes to the Internal Revenue Code and deductibility of maintenance payments

Effective January 1, 2019, the guidelines were amended to address the changes to the Internal Revenue Code which made maintenance payments no longer deductible by the payor. http://P.A.100-0520. Guidelines are now calculated pursuant to Section 504(b-1)(A) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act if the order is entered on or after January 1, 2019. The biggest change is that maintenance is calculated based on the parties' net income whereas prior to January 2019, maintenance was calculated based on gross income. This takes into account that new maintenance payments are no longer deductible by the payor and taxable to the payee.

If the court determines that a maintenance award is appropriate, the court shall order maintenance in accordance with the following guidelines:

  1. In situations when the combined gross income of the parties is less than $500,000 and no multiple family exists, maintenance shall be in accordance with the guidelines, unless the court makes a finding that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate.
    1. The amount shall be calculated by taking 33 1/3% of the payor’s net (after tax) income minus 25% of the payee’s net income. The amount of maintenance, however, when added to the gross income of the payee, may not result in the payee receiving an amount that is in excess of 40% of the combined net income of the parties.
    2. The duration of an award for maintenance shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage at the time the case was filed by a factor depending on the length of the marriage: 0 – 5 years (.20); 5 – 6 years (.24); 6 – 7 years (.28); or 7 – 8 years (.32); 8 – 9 years (.36); 9 – 10 years (.40); 10 – 11 years (.44); 11 – 12 years (.48); 12 – 13years (.52); 13 – 14 years (.56); 14 – 15 years (.60); 15 – 16 years (.64); 16 – 17 years (.68); 17 – 18 years (.72); 18 – 19 years (.76); 19 – 20 years (.80) For a marriage in excess of 20 years, the court shall order either indefinite maintenance or maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

Note that maintenance must be calculated prior to calculating child support because the child support calculation of net income includes whether maintenance is paid or payable. Also, if the statutory maintenance guidelines plus statutory child support guidelines exceeds 50% of the payor's net income, the court has discretion to deviate from guidelines.

Initial Free Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Alimony Attorney

The divorce attorneys of The Law Office of J. Patrick Nelson, PC offer decades of experience advocating for clients with regard to spousal maintenance awards. Based in Wheaton, we work with clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Will County, and throughout Chicago's western suburbs. Contact us for a complimentary initial consultation — call 630-480-4280, email, or complete our online information form.