Factors That Affect Alimony During Dissolution Of Marriage

When seeking a divorce in Illinois, most separating partners have questions about alimony—payments that are paid to the financially dependent spouse by the financially independent spouse.

While not all divorces will result in a maintenance order, many of them do. If you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to understand certain specifics about maintenance orders.

Factors that Affect a Maintenance Award

750 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5, Section 504 — Maintenance names the following as factors that affect entitlement to maintenance, as well as maintenance duration.

  • Income and property of each party;
  • Needs of each party;
  • Current and future earning potential of each party;
  • Impairment to current/future earning capacity of maintenance-seeking party based on delayed educational opportunities, domestic duties, etc. due to marriage;
  • Time required for the party seeking maintenance to acquire education, training, etc. necessary to support him or herself;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Age, physical and emotional condition of both parties;
  • Tax consequences of property division;
  • Contribution of services from maintenance-seeking party to other spouse;
  • Existence of any valid agreement (pre/post-nuptial agreement); and
  • Any other relevant factors.

In addition to the above, the law also outlines a specific formula for calculating a maintenance amount. For example, when the combined gross income of both parties involved in the divorce is less than $250,000, then the amount of maintenance is found by subtracting 20 percent of the payee’s (receiving spouse’s) gross income from 30 percent of the payor’s gross income. However, the payee cannot receive an amount that is more than 40 percent of the combined parties’ gross incomes.

Can an Alimony Award be Changed?

If you waive your right to maintenance, then you cannot receive a maintenance award in the future. However, existing alimony payments may be modified if a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred. For example, if the spouse making the maintenance payments loses his or her job, a modification to a maintenance order may be necessary. In order to modify a maintenance agreement, a petition to modify a maintenance order must be filed with the court.

How to Receive a Fair Maintenance Order

Whether you are the financially dependent or the financially independent spouse in a divorce, receiving a maintenance order that is fair and equitable at the time of your dissolution of marriage should be a top priority. To help you understand alimony in Illinois, the factors that may affect an alimony payment, or how to change an alimony order, please seek the counsel of the skilled DuPage County divorce lawyers at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. Our attorneys can handle your family law or divorce case, and will always advocate for your best interests. To schedule a case consultation, call 630-665-7676.