Anderson & Boback Logo

Why Get a Cap on Maintenance Bonuses?

Categorized as Spousal Support

Whether you have been ordered to pay maintenance to your spouse, or are in the process of determining how much to pay maintenance to your spouse, you probably know by now that your bonuses are included as part of the calculation.


Maintenance calculations in Illinois are based on several factors, including the income of each party and the standard of living established during the marriage, among other factors. If bonuses have been part of your income during the marriage, then it has been part of the standard of living established during the marriage. The problem comes, however, as to how to include the bonuses into the maintenance calculation.


If you are the spouse requesting maintenance, you will want to include the bonuses as part of the total calculation to determine a fixed monthly amount. The problem with this calculation is that bonuses may only come at the end of the year, which would mean a severe cash flow for the first 11 months until the bonus arrives. In addition, bonuses are usually not guaranteed and could vary. Because of this issue, most payor spouses will request that maintenance be based on their base salary. With this option, however, the payor spouse will likely be required to pay maintenance off of his bonuses.


Because maintenance is supposed to maintain the “standard of living” established during the marriage, it seems to reason that there needs to be a limit, or “cap”, on the amount that a spouse should be ordered to pay from their bonuses. If the payor has an excellent year after the marriage, and earns an additional $20k-$50 in bonuses, then the payee spouse gets a windfall in that she benefits from income she never enjoyed during the marriage.


As a result, if you are the payor spouse, you should request that the judge cap the amount of maintenance you are required to pay from your bonus to a fixed amount that closely resembles the standard of living established during the marriage. This would likely be a fixed number, such as no bonuses paid after the payor reaches $100,000. That way, the payor spouse has an incentive to continue to continue to earn more money, and the payee spouse also gets her portion of the bonus.

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is a relief granted to a party in a dissolution of marriage case that equitably restores to the party a standard of living to which they became acclimated during the marriage.  For spouses going through…

Visitation interference occurs when the custodial parent in some way interferes with your ability to spend parenting time with your child or visit with them.  In Illinois, a parent has a couple of options when the other parent interferes with…

We receive inquiries regularly from parents of children in Illinois regarding whether or not they can remove their child from the state of Illinois when they are estranged from their child’s other parent.  The answer varies, depending on different situations.…

People often are confused about the difference between a Civil Union and a Domestic Partnership, and what their rights are if their partner, to whom they are not married, leaves them or predeceases them.  This blog is designed to explain…

One of the most hot-button terms in parenting cases in Cook County is “alienation”, meaning that one parent is actively seeking to keep the child from having a relationship with their other parents. The current laws on parenting favor both…

In Illinois, there are two main ways to go about changing your minor child’s name: by agreement, and by Court adjudication of the issue.  As with all things related to co-parenting a minor child, the easiest and least costly method…

Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870