What is alimony (maintenance)?

In divorce, a higher earning spouse can be ordered to pay support to the lower earning spouse. This payment is often referred to as “alimony” but the technical legal name in Illinois is maintenance. We will make sure there is an appropriate allocation of alimony based on your circumstances.

We will develop a strategy to ensure your financial interests are protected.

What factors impact an award of maintenance?

The first issue a Court will address is whether or not alimony/maintenance should be awarded. Some of the factors the Court will consider are:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Income, assets, and debts of each party
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Current and future earning capacity of the recipient
  • Parenting time and allocation of parental decision making
  • Tax consequences for each party
  • Valid agreements entered into by the parties
  • Any other factors that may impact the need for maintenance

How is maintenance calculated?

If a Court determines that alimony/maintenance should be paid and if the couple earns a combined net income of $500,000 per year or less, then Illinois law establishes a rebuttable presumption that a formula will be used. A rebuttable presumption means that a judge is likely to use the formula, unless unique circumstances are presented that convince the judge that application of the guideline formula would be inappropriate.  The higher earner is called the payor (the one who pays) and the lower earner is called the payee (the one who is paid). Net income is used for the formula, which is your income after taxes and allowed deductions.

Per the formula, the first step is to calculate ⅓ (33%) of the payor’s annual net income. The second step is to calculate ¼ (25%) of the payee’s annual net income. Then subtract the resulting 25% of the payee’s net income from the 33% of the payor’s net income. However, there is a cap on the maintenance allowed. Specifically, the amount awarded cannot cause the payee to have more than 40% of the couple’s combined net income.

The Court has the authority to deviate from these numbers, but this formula can serve as a guideline as to what to expect if your combined net income is less than $500,000 annually.

How is maintenance determined for high income earners?

If you make more than $500,000 net annual income as a couple, the Court is not obligated to follow the formula above and can award any amount that the Court determines is reasonable under the circumstances, taking into account the specific circumstances of both parties and the family.

We will advocate for your interests and help you reach a resolution that will secure your financial future.

 How long does maintenance last?

The length of the marriage is measured from the date of marriage to the date the petition for divorce was filed.  It is important to consider that the filing date can impact the duration of maintenance. 

Contact Our Divorce Lawyer Chicago

These are the basic factors for calculating maintenance. However, you will need a lawyer to review your particular circumstances and determine if anything else may influence maintenance. Citino Family Law is here to assist you with your divorce and any questions regarding maintenance.

Alimony | Maintenance | Citino Family Law
*Percentage is: a percentage of the length of the marriage