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


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

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How Much Maintenance Will I Pay?

Posted on in Spousal Support

maintenance, Aurora divorce attorneyIn a recent post on this blog, we discussed the criteria used by Illinois courts to determine whether spousal maintenance was appropriate following a divorce. The law requires a court to look at various factors relevant to the marriage and each spouse’s financial situation to ensure that a need for spousal support actually exists. If maintenance is found to be appropriate, the court must then calculate how much is to be paid and for how long. Illinois law also provides guidance regarding these considerations as well.

Maintenance Amounts

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides a specific formula to be used in situations where the couple’s combined income is less than $250,000 per year and the paying party has no other obligations for maintenance or child support from a previous relationship. In such a case, the amount of support to be paid is found by taking 30 percent of the paying spouse’s gross income and subtracting 20 percent of the receiving spouse’s net income. The difference will be the amount expected to be paid unless that amount plus the recipient’s income equals more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income.

Consider an example where a husband’s gross income is 75,000 per year and the wife’s income is 25,000 per year. If the court found that maintenance was appropriate, the calculation would begin by taking 30 percent of $75,000 ($22,500) minus 20 percent of $25,000 ($5,000) which equals $17,500 per year. Adding $17,500 and $25,000 (the wife’s income) totals $42,500, which is more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income. Therefore, the support requirement would likely be reduced to $15,000 to meet the 40 percent criteria.

In situations where the couple makes $250,000 or more per year or the payor has other support obligations, the court is granted full discretion to calculate an amount that is reasonable and just.

Duration of Maintenance Orders

The next step is determining how long the paying spouse will need to make payments. The duration of such an award is generally found by taking a percentage of the length of the marriage, based on a table provided in the IMDMA. The table is weighted so that longer marriages result in relatively longer support orders. To find the expected length of a maintenance order, the court will multiply the length of the marriage by:

  • 0.2 for a marriage lasting less than five years;
  • 0.4 for a marriage lasting five years or more but less than 10 years;
  • 0.6 for a marriage lasting 10 years or more but less than 15 years; or
  • 0.8 for a marriage lasting 15 years or more but less than 20 years.

For marriages lasting 20 years or more, the court may order permanent maintenance or payments for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

A marriage of 12 years, for example, would result in an order lasting just over seven years, as 60 percent of 12 years is 7.2 years.

Get Help With Your Case

If you are being asked to make maintenance payments, it is important to fully understand the law and your rights. Contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to discuss your case today. Call 630-409-8184 for a confidential consultation.


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


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

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