Understanding Spousal Maintenance
Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is a court order that requires one party to make payments to the other either during the divorce proceedings or at its conclusion. is intended to help the financially dependent spouse maintain a similar standard of living after the separation as they received during the course of the marriage.
Will maintenance be a part of your divorce? It may or may not. It is advisable to speak to a Chicago divorce attorney from Taege Law Offices who can assess your situation and help determine what maintenance may look like in your situation.
How A Court Decides If Maintenance Is Appropriate
A dependent party will not automatically be awarded maintenance. Instead, a court will look to numerous factors to determine whether or not a maintenance award is appropriate. Some of these factors include:
- the income and assets of each party
- the needs of each party
- the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party
- the present and future earning capacity of each party
- the standard of living established during the marriage
- the duration of the marriage
- the age and physical health of each party
How A Maintenance Award Is Calculated
If a court determines that a maintenance award is appropriate, the general formula used in calculating the maintenance amount is 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the recipient’s gross income. However, the total maintenance amount cannot exceed 40% of both parties’ gross incomes.
For example, suppose spouse one has been ordered to pay maintenance to spouse two. Spouse one earns $200,000 per year and spouse two’s gross income is $50,000. Thirty percent of spouse one’s income is $60,000 while 20% of spouse two’s income is $10,000. The maintenance award would be $50,000. The combined gross income of both spouses is $250,000. Forty percent of the combined income is $100,000. The maintenance amount is suitable since the $50,000 maintenance award is less than $100,000.
How The Duration Of A Maintenance Award Is Determined
In Illinois, the length of a maintenance award is determined by multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies:
- 20 for a marriage of 5 years of less
- 40 for more than 5 years but less than 10
- 60 for more than 10 years but less than 15
- 80 for more than 15 years but less than 20
The court has the discretion to order a permanent maintenance award if marriage is more than 20 years.
This means that if a couple was married for eight years, then the recipient of maintenance would be entitled to receive it for 3.2 years (8 times 0.40).