How Spousal Maintenance is Determined in Illinois Divorces

Dupage county alimony spousal supportTraditionally, it was assumed that the man works to support his family financially while the woman, though she may have had a career before she was married, would quit her job to stay home and take care of the children and the home. Because of that, many women would be in a state of financial distress if they got divorced because they did not have any income of their own - which is where alimony came in.

In Illinois, alimony is called spousal support or spousal maintenance. These days, it is no unusual to see the man acting as the stay-at-home parent, or neither parent being a stay-at-home parent. Spousal maintenance is an important part of any divorce in which one spouse decided to sacrifice career for his or her family.

Determining Eligibility

Maintenance is not guaranteed to all divorcing couples. In some cases, the court will decide that maintenance is not appropriate or not needed. When making this determination, Illinois courts look factors such as the needs of each spouse, whether a spouse quit their career to tend to children or the home and the earning potential of each spouse.

Amount and Duration of Maintenance

The amount of maintenance that is paid depends on each spouse’s income and the duration for which the amount is paid is determined by how long the couple was married. Here is the formula used to determine the amount of maintenance to be paid:

30% of paying spouse’s income - 20% of receiving spouse’s income = Amount of maintenance to be paid per year

The duration of this amount is determined by taking the number of years that the couple was married and multiplying it by the number that corresponds to the length of the marriage. A general range of multiplying factors is:

  • Under 5 years of marriage: .20
  • 5 - 10 years: .24 - .44
  • 10 - 15 years: .44 - .64
  • 15 - 20 years: .64 - .80
  • 20 or more years: The court will either order payments for a time equal to as long as you were married or for an indefinite amount of time.

Example Maintenance Calculation

An Oak Brook couple, Jim and Lisa, are getting divorced after 17 years of marriage. Jim is a doctor who makes $360,000 per year before taxes. Lisa has a part-time job now that the kids are grown, but stayed home to take care of them for most of the marriage. Lisa makes $15,000 per year before taxes. Lisa is asking for maintenance because she has not been in the workforce for 15 years and does not have adequate training or work experience to support herself. The court has decided that Jim must pay maintenance to Lisa.

The amount of maintenance Jim would have to pay to Lisa is determined as followed:

$108,000 (30% of Jim’s income) - $3,000 (20% of Lisa’s income) = $105,000 per year

The length of time Jim would have to pay Lisa is determined as followed:

17 (Years Jim and Lisa were married) X .72 (The multiplying factor for 17 years of marriage) = 12.24 years

Contact a Hinsdale, IL Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

Calculations for maintenance can become complex, which is why you should have the help of an accomplished DuPage County spousal support attorney to walk you through the steps. Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help you arrive at the amount of spousal maintenance that is appropriate for your situation. Contact the office at 630-920-8855 to set up a consultation.


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