There are now new standardized Formulas to determine maintenance (used to be called alimony) in Illinois

As of January 1, 2015, we calculate maintenance by a formula, much like how child support is calculated. If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, it is important to understand how these changes to Illinois divorce law affect the amount and duration of maintenance that will be awarded in your case. After reading this article, contact us and we can help you calculate how much you would be owed and how long you would receive maintenance.

Under the old law, judges were given a lot of discretion in determining the amount and duration of maintenance awarded in divorce cases. While there are still twelve specific factors the judge must take into consideration, it was often difficult to make an accurate prediction of what the maintenance award would actually be in any given case. In conjunction with the new law, judges still use the twelve factors to determine if a maintenance award should be given but, as of January 1, 2015, there are new guidelines in place which use a standardized formula to calculate the amount of maintenance awarded, as well as the duration of the payments.

FORMULA FOR MAINTENANCE AWARD: DURATION– To determine the maintenance award duration – use the following:

(Marriage 0-5 years) x (20%)
(Marriage 5-10 years) x (40%)
(Marriage 10-15 years) x (60%)
(Marriage 15-20 years) x (80%)
Marriages of 20+ years – court shall order either permanent maintenance or the length of the marriage

Now we take both parties’ gross income as a starting point. We take 30% of the payor’s income and 20% of the payee’s income. The payee’s net award cannot exceed 40% of the parties’ combined income.

Here is how we would calculated maintenance for a couple with two incomes:

Let’s say we have a couple who has a combined annual income of $175,000 per year, and who has been married for 20 years. The wife’s income is $125,000 a year and the husband’s is $50,000. Under this scenario, maintenance is likely to be awarded to the husband. We now apply the formula:

$125,000 x 30% = $37,500 (wife)
$50,000 x 20% = $10,000 (husband)
$37,500 – 10,000 = $27,500

According to this calculation, the husband would be awarded $27,500 per year. The new statute says that he cannot take over 40% of the couple’s combined income, so we need to check that as well.

40% of the couples’ combined income is $70,000.00.

He cannot received more than this, when his maintenance amount is added to his income. Here, we would add his $50,000 income to the maintenance amount awarded, to come to $77,500.00. It is too much, and the court would adjust it downward.

Finally, the court would calculate the duration of the payments.

(20 years) x (80%) = 12.8. The husband would be awarded maintenance for 12 years and 8 months.

These amendments to Illinois Divorce Law are intended to standardize the way maintenance is calculated, but every situation is different and the new guidelines can have a big impact on the amount / duration of the maintenance awarded in many cases.

If you are interested in finding out how the recent amendments to Sections 504 and 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act affect your case, give us a call at 312-715-0870. We understand how tough these situations can be and we can help you calculate the maintenance you would receive or pay.