Calculating Maintenance (Alimony) under Illinois' new divorce law
This guide will assist you in determining how much maintenance you will pay/receive when you get divorced, and for what period of time. A lot has changed under Illinois' new maintenance statute.
Step One: A court will determine whether maintenance is appropriate in your case.750 ILCS 5/504 identifies the factors a court must consider in determining whether to award maintenance. Among those factors are the income and property of each spouse (both marital and non-marital), as well as any financial obligations imposed upon the parties as a result of the divorce, the realistic earning capacity of each party, any impairment of one's earning capacity (age/illness) and other factors as well. Once a court determines that maintenance is appropriate, the court will move on to step 2, below.
Step Two: Calculating the amount of maintenance.With the hope of bringing more uniformity to Illinois maintenance awards, the new statute provides a straightforward formula: 30% of the payor's income - 20% of the recipient's income. The resulting number will be the maintenance award, provided that figure is not in excess of 40% of the combined income of the parties, in which case the award will be capped at 40% of the total combined income. So, for example, consider the following: Husband's income = $130,000 per year; Wife's income = $80,000 per year (TOTAL COMBINED GROSS INCOME = $210,000). Then, $130,000 x 30% = $39,000 and $80,000 x 20% = $16,000. 39,000 - $16,000 = $23,000. While $23,000 looks like a nice number to the recipient (payee), that figure, when added to the recipient's income of $80,000, equals $103,000. As this figure is in excess of 40% of the combined gross income of $210,000 ($210,000 x 40% = $84,000), maintenance will be reduced to $4,000.
Please note that this calculation does not apply when the combined gross income of the parties exceeds $250,000, and you should discuss the matter more fully with your attorney.
The next step is to determine the length of time maintenance will be paid.
Step Three: Determine the length of time maintenance will be paid.Here again, the new statute attempts to bring uniformity to maintenance awards. To determine the length of time maintenance will be paid, you must first determine the length of your marriage. Simply know the date of your marriage, and the contemplated filing date of your divorce. With those dates in mind, the statute provides that the period of maintenance is calculated as follows: For marriages of between 0-5 years, multiply by 20%; 5-10 years multiply by 40%; 10-15 years multiply by 60%; 15-20 years multiply by 80%; 20+ years - court shall order either permanent maintenance or the length of the marriage
So, for example, if you have been married for 8 years and 7 months, multiply 103 months by 40%, and the result is just over 41 months of maintenance.
Keep in mind that this is a general review of the new Illinois maintenance guidelines. Each case is unique and may require additional information to provide an answer more specific to your situation.