Understanding The Basics Of Spousal Support In Illinois

Not every divorce will include an award of alimony (also known as spousal support), but those that do generally involve spouses who have an income disparity, or a spouse that is unable to support themselves. If you believe you may be entitled to spousal support, or if you are concerned over what a request for spousal support may mean for your financial future, the following information can help. Keep in mind, however, that every situation is unique. As such, your attorney is the best source when it comes to determining if, how, or when spousal support may be awarded in your case.

Spousal Support Criteria

Since Illinois courts do not recognize fault in a divorce, the reason for the divorce is irrelevant in determining if (or how much) alimony should be awarded. Instead, the courts consider a handful of relevant factors to help them determine if one spouse should provide temporary or permanent financial assistance to the other party. These criteria include:

  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Income and property of each party (marital and non-marital);
  • Each party’s financial obligations;
  • Complexity of the case;
  • Age and the physical, mental, and emotional health of each party;
  • Earning capacity (present and future) of each party;
  • Time it would take for a lesser-earning spouse to obtain the education, training, vocation, and/or gainful employment needed to self-support;
  • Tax consequences;
  • Contributions made by a spouse to advance the career or education of the other party;
  • Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements; and
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant.

Amount and Duration of Spousal Support

When it comes to the amount and duration of spousal support, each situation is unique. Some may be awarded temporary support, which will end one a specific date. Others will receive temporary support without an official end date. Still others may be awarded permanent support that will only end if either party suffers a fatality, or if the receiving spouse remarries. However, there is a formula that the courts now use to determine how much support should be received, and for how long.

Enacted in 2015, the legal formula determines the yearly maintenance amount by subtracting 20 percent of the receiving spouse’s gross income from 30 percent of the paying spouse’s gross income. So, if the paying spouse’s income is $100,000 and the receiving spouse’s income is $20,000, then the annual spousal support amount would be $26,000 (30 percent of $100,000 is $30,000; 20 percent of $20,000 is $4,000; $30,000 minus $4,000 comes to $26,000). However, it is important to understand that this family may not be strictly adhered to in every case. As such, it is important that both paying and receiving spouses have the assistance of an experienced attorney when spousal support may be a factor in their divorce settlement.

Contact Our Naperville Divorce Lawyers

Whether you need help assistance with a petition for support, a litigator willing to fight to help you get the settlement that you deserve, or an ally who can help you protect your assets during the divorce process, our experienced Naperville divorce lawyers can help. Dedicated to your best interests, we will stand by your side, every step of the way. At Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C., we make your case our top priority. Call us at 630-665-7676 for your confidential consultation today.