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How Much Spousal Maintenance Can I Expect?

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Spousal Maintenance

spousal maintenance, alimony, Illinois family lawyerA common question among those preparing for divorce involves the possibility of spousal maintenance. Previously known as alimony, spousal maintenance is intended to help alleviate the financial impact of a divorce to one spouse or the other. It is important to understand, however, that there is no presumed right to receive spousal support after a divorce. Instead, except for a valid agreement between the spouses, it is up to the court to determine if support is appropriate.

Statutory Considerations

To say that spousal maintenance is only appropriate for an economically disadvantaged spouse is an oversimplification. In reality, there are a number of factors the court must take into account when deciding whether or not to order an award, including, but not limited to:

  • The age, health, and earning capacity of each spouse;
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and the earning capacity of the other spouse;
  • The assets and resources of each spouse, including those received in the divorce settlement;
  • The length of marriage, and the lifestyle established; and
  • Provisions being made for the care of the couple’s children.

If maintenance is found to be necessary, the court must clearly state how it made such a determination, citing the specific influencing factors.

How Much?

For couples with a combined gross income of $250,000, and no obligations—such as child support—from a previous relationship, Illinois law provides a formula for deciding the size of a spousal maintenance award. Based on the gross income of the parties, the amount should be equal to 30 percent of the payor’s income minus 20 percent of the recipient’s income. The award is limited, however, so that the payable amount plus the recipient’s income does not exceed 40 percent of the couple’s combined income.

For example, if maintenance is found to be appropriate for a divorce situation involving a husband making $120,000 per year and a wife making $40,000, the amount must be calculated according to the law. 30 percent of the husband’s income is $36,000, and 20 percent of the wife’s is $8,000. Subtracting as provided in the law result in an amount of $28,000. When that amount is added to her income, the total, $68,000, is 42.5 percent of the total income, so the award must be reduced to $24,000 per year to meet the law’s requirement.

Court Alternatives

When a couple’s income exceeds $250,000, there are previous-existing obligations, or the prescribed formula is not appropriate, the court may order payments at its discretion. In doing so, the court is required to specifically state its reasons for any determinations made that are not compliance with the statute.

If you are dealing with issues related to a spousal maintenance award, you do not need to face them on your own. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney for assistance. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


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


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

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