The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Does Spousal Maintenance Ever End?

Posted on October 16, 2023 in Spousal Support

Kane County divorce lawyerSpousal maintenance or support is the official Illinois terminology used for alimony. It is awarded after a divorce so that each spouse continues to maintain the standard of living they were living while married. In most cases, spousal maintenance does end, and the duration is largely based on the length of the marriage.

Maintenance payments are calculated by taking 33 percent of the payer’s net pay and subtracting 25 percent of the recipient’s net income. Consulting a skilled divorce attorney can help you figure out what you might owe or are owed in spousal maintenance.

What Are the Different Types of Illinois Spousal Maintenance?

Illinois recognizes five variations of spousal maintenance that the court can award:


Kane County spousal maintenance attorneyAlimony, which is referred to as spousal maintenance in Illinois, is financial support that may be granted to an ex-spouse who cannot fully provide for their own needs. If an ex-spouse makes a lower income, or in some cases no income at all (for example, a stay-at-home parent), they may be entitled to support from their former partner. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act details the criteria that may determine when alimony may be awarded. There are four different types of alimony that may be available in a divorce:

Temporary Alimony 

Temporary alimony is financial support granted to one spouse while the couple’s divorce is pending. This support is intended to cover a spouse’s living expenses, and it is typically awarded in situations where the parties have decided to no longer live together during the divorce. Temporary alimony ends once the divorce is finalized, and if necessary it may be replaced by a more permanent form of spousal support.. 

Fixed-Term Alimony 

Fixed-term alimony is granted to a spouse for a set duration. This is awarded typically when a person cannot currently financially support themselves, and it will give them time to become self-supporting. Fixed-term spousal support may be granted in circumstances such as: 


kane county divorce lawyerFormerly known as alimony, spousal maintenance is established through an agreement between the spouses or a court order. Courts do not always award maintenance. Each divorce is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A divorce attorney knowledgable in spousal maintenance laws can help you understand your potential maintenance entitlement or obligation during your divorce.

Formula to Calculate Spousal Maintenance

Illinois court utilizes a formula to calculate the amount of spousal maintenance one may be awarded: Twenty-five percent of the payee's net income is subtracted from 33.33 percent of the payer's net income to find the annual maintenance obligation. The maintenance must not surpass 40 percent of the combined income of the divorcing spouses.

The duration of spousal maintenance is usually determined by the duration of the marriage. For example, with a 10-year marriage, the petitioning spouse may be awarded maintenance for four years.


 aurora divorce lawyerIf you want to get a divorce and your spouse earns a significantly higher salary than you, you may be able to receive alimony. Also known as spousal support, alimony is intended to help financially support a spouse until he or she has gained the necessary education or training to obtain a higher-paying job. In the majority of cases, alimony is temporary. However, permanent alimony is sometimes awarded. 

Ending Spousal Support Payments in Illinois

In Illinois, the duration of alimony is usually based on the length of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the longer a spouse may recieve maintenance payments. If the couple was married 20 years or longer, the recipient may be permanently entitled to maintenance. However, there are certain circumstances in which spousal maintenance terminates:

  • Cohabitation - If you move in with a romantic partner, your ex-spouse will no longer be obligated to pay you alimony. Living with someone as a platonic roommate is not sufficient enough to stop support payments. The paying spouse will have to contact the court and request a maintenance termination on the basis of cohabitation. 


North Aurora spousal support attorney

Getting a divorce means a lot of changes will occur. One of the most noticeable is your change in income. Most married couples live and run their household off of two incomes. When you get divorced, you have to transition from sustaining a household under shared incomes to meeting your needs with your income alone. For spouses who have not worked during their marriage or who have recently entered the workforce, this can be problematic. People who make significantly less than their spouses may also be concerned about their ability to support themselves after divorce. In these cases, spousal maintenance may be awarded. But what happens when your situation does not fall under the normal guidelines for calculation?

Illinois Spousal Support Guidelines

There are a number of factors that can affect whether or not you receive a maintenance award. These factors can include the income of both you and your spouse, whether or not either of you were out of the workforce for a period of time, and each of your needs. If the court finds that an award is appropriate, and you and your spouse earn a combined income of less than $500,000, the court will follow normal guidelines. This means spousal maintenance will be calculated by taking 33.3 percent of the income of the paying spouse and subtracting 25 percent of the income of the receiving spouse. Maintenance will usually be paid monthly, but in some cases, it may be paid annually or in a lump sum at the time of divorce.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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