Maintenance payments (aka alimony or spousal maintenance) may be granted by the court during a proceeding for the dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, or dissolution of a civil union. Awarding maintenance payments a spouse may be appropriate depending on factors such as the income and property of each party, present and future earning capacity, age, health and more. The court will also look at the duration of the marriage and whether there are minor children involved and what responsibilities that entails. If spousal maintenance is determined to be appropriate, the amount and duration is calculated using a formula. Information regarding spousal maintenance can be found in the Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law, section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act (IMDMA).
Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law Prior to January 1, 2019
If you divorced prior to January 1, 2019, spousal maintenance was calculated based on combined annual income less than 250K: 30 percent of the payors gross annual income minus 20 percent of the recipient’s gross income equal the maintenance to be paid. (Maintenance determinations for those with combined incomes over the 250K threshold were at the discretion of the court based on various factors.) Depending on how long you were married correlated to how long the payments would be made. Shorter marriages of less than 5 years, for example, might have required the payment of maintenance for as few as 24 months while longer marriages would require several years of payments or even permanent spousal maintenance. Prior to January 1, maintenance payments could be deducted from the higher earning spouse’s taxable income, whereas the lower earning recipient claimed it as taxable income.
Current Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law Effective January 1, 2019
Currently, for those earning less than 500k combined income (the new threshold) maintenance is calculated based on the payor and recipients net income, using 33.3% of the payors net income minus 25% of the recipient’s net income to arrive at the maintenance figure. However, it is important to keep in mind that spousal support cannot exceed more than 40% of the couple’s combined income.
The duration of payments is still based on the length of marriage multiplied by updated statutory figures (below). As of January 1, 2019, maintenance payments are no longer tax deductible for the payor or claimed as income for the recipient.
* The duration of an award is calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage (in months) by the applicable multiplier:: less than 5 years (.20); 5 years or more but less than 6 years (.24); 6 years or more but less than 7 years (.28); 7 years or more but less than 8 years (.32); 8 years or more but less than 9 years (.36); 9 years or more but less than 10 years (.40); 10 years or more but less than 11 years (.44); 11 years or more but less than 12 years (.48); 12 years or more but less than 13 years (.52); 13 years or more but less than 14 years (.56); 14 years or more but less than 15 years (.60); 15 years or more but less than 16 years (.64); 16 years or more but less than 17 years (.68); 17 years or more but less than 18 years (.72); 18 years or more but less than 19 years (.76); 19 years or more but less than 20 years (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court, in its discretion, shall order maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage or for an indefinite term.
Calculating Illinois Spousal Maintenance
For the purpose of illustrating how spousal maintenance might be calculated, let’s assume a payor earns a net annual income of $36,000 and the payee (recipient) nets $12,000.
33.3% of $36,000 = $11,988
25% of $12,000 = $3,000
$11,988 – $3,000 = $8.988 in potential annual maintenance to be adjusted down to the 40% combined income cap: $7,200 annually or $600 in monthly maintenance payments
If the couple was married 6 years, multiply the number of months by the multiplier from the above table: 72 months x .28 = 20.16 months of maintenance, or just under two years of maintenance payments due.
Calculating Illinois spousal maintenance percentages is an approximation without considering the division of assets or debts, parent responsibilities, enforceable prenuptial agreements, or other considerations unique to your case. We encourage you to contact the attorneys at Schlesinger & Strauss LLC with any questions you have regarding Illinois spousal maintenance. We are happy to meet with you to discuss what you can expect in your divorce regarding spousal maintenance, child support, parenting time or other family law concerns. Call us today at 847-680-4970 or contact us here to schedule a free initial consultation.