Illinois Spousal Support: How is alimony determined in Illinois?

Understanding Illinois Spousal Support Laws

In the state of Illinois, spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony, is financial assistance that one spouse pays to the other during or after a divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to mitigate any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. Determining alimony in Illinois follows specific guidelines set forth by state laws, which consider numerous factors to ensure fairness and adequacy in support arrangements.

Factors Influencing Alimony in Illinois

The determination of spousal support in Illinois is influenced by several factors. These include:

After considering these factors, courts in Illinois can grant temporary or permanent spousal support. Temporary support is generally awarded during the divorce process, while permanent support may be granted after the divorce is finalized. However, 'permanent' does not necessarily mean lifelong; it indicates support with no predetermined end date but may be subject to modification based on changing circumstances.

Calculating Spousal Support in Illinois

For couples with a combined gross annual income below $500,000 and where no multiple-family situation exists, Illinois law provides specific guidelines for calculating spousal support. The formula for determining maintenance when child support is not involved is 33.3% of the payer's net income minus 25% of the payee's net income. The amount calculated as maintenance, when added to the payee's net income, cannot exceed 40% of the combined net income of both parties.

Spousal Support Duration

The duration of spousal support in Illinois typically correlates with the length of the marriage. Courts use a multiplier against the number of years married to determine how long maintenance will last. For example:

This multiplier increases incrementally for each year up until 20 years. For marriages lasting 20 years or more, the court may order either permanent maintenance or maintenance equal to the length of the marriage.

Modification and Termination

Maintenance can be modified or terminated based on a substantial change in circumstances. Such changes might include a significant change in employment status or income level for either spouse or cohabitation by the receiving spouse with another person on a resident continuing conjugal basis. Moreover, maintenance automatically terminates upon death or remarriage of the receiving spouse.