Maintenance / Alimony

In Illinois, alimony is referred to as maintenance. The court may order temporary or permanent maintenance based on each spouse’s income and property, financial needs, and earning capacity. In Illinois, allegations of fault, such as adultery, do not impact the amount of support awarded.

If one spouse is dependent upon the income of the other, having foregone work and devoted full-time care to the children, the issue of alimony and maintenance may be an issue. This issue can be resolved by agreement given the resources of both spouses. If the issue is not resolved, the court will establish a fair amount of alimony and maintenance.

As of January 1, 2015, Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) was modified, creating major changes in how maintenance is determined for divorcing parties in the State of Illinois.

Under the revised statute, if the combined gross income (before taxes) of both parties is less than $250,000 annually, and the court determines that spousal support is appropriate and necessary, maintenance will be determined in accordance with the guidelines below:

  1. The amount of maintenance is calculated by taking thirty-percent (30%) of the payor’s (party responsible for spousal support) gross income minus twenty-percent (20%) of the payee’s (party receiving spousal support) gross income. However, the result of this calculated maintenance amount, 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 gross income of the parties.
  2. In determining the duration of the maintenance payment, the following calculation applies: shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies: 0-5 years (.20); 5-10 years (.40); 10-15 years (.60); or 15-20 years (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court, in its discretion, shall order either permanent spousal maintenance or maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

Additionally, if the parties combined annual gross income is more than $250,000, under the newly revised Section 504 of the IMDMA will not be applied and the court will determine maintenance as done prior to the implementation of the new law. To determine the appropriate maintenance amount and duration for these couples, courts will apply the following factors (as listed in Section 504(a) of the IMDMA):

  1. the income and property of each party, including marital propertyapportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance;
  2. the needs of each party;
  3. the present and future earning capacity of each party;
  4. any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage;
  5. the time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment;
  6. the standard of living established during the marriage;
  7. the duration of the marriage;
  8. the age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;
  9. the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
  10. contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse;
  11. any valid agreement of the parties; and
  12. any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.