The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act covers the topic of alimony in divorce cases, referring to it as “spousal maintenance.” No party is automatically entitled to receive this form of financial support, but it may be awarded by a court under certain circumstances. Once one party has established that alimony is appropriate, the next questions become the amount and how long it must be paid to the recipient. The court makes a determination by turning to the Illinois Statutory Guidelines, but there are cases in which a judge will deviate from the formula. Because these issues can be extremely complicated, you should trust your case to an experienced Illinois alimony attorney who will work to get a favorable result.
Statutory Guidelines on Spousal Maintenance
The default rule in a divorce case is for the judge to apply the statutory formula to determine the details of alimony. To come up with total amount of support to be paid per year, you must multiply the payor’s gross income by 31% and subtract 25% of the recipient’s income, but may be no more than 40% of the combined income of the parties.
The length of time alimony must be paid depends on the duration of the marriage. The court applies a predetermined multiplier to the number of years the marriage lasted, and the result of this calculation is the number of years that spousal support must be paid. Generally, the multiplier is higher as the length of the marriage is longer.
The statute includes the full list, but to show some examples:
- On the low end, if you were married less than five years, the multiplier is .20. The duration of alimony can be as low as one year;
- Marriages of five to 10 years use a multiplier from .24 to .44, so spousal maintenance can last from 1.2 years to 4.4 years; and,
- If you were married for at least 11 years or up to 19 years, the multipliers range from .48 to .80. The length of time for alimony may be 5.28 to 15.2 years.
Marriages of 20 Years or More
The Statutory Guidelines do not apply a multiplier for marriage that lasted two decades or longer. If you were married for 20 years or more, a court may order the length of time for alimony payment to be equal to the length of the marriage. However, in some cases, the court will order an indefinite length of time and support must be paid until it is no longer necessary.
Deviation from the Statutory Guidelines
It is possible for a court to order a higher or lower amount of alimony than what is required by law, such as when the parties make more than $500,000 in annual income. If the judge deviates from the standard formula, there must be a valid reason for doing so.
Talk to an Illinois Divorce Lawyer About How Alimony Works
There are multiple factors that determine the amount and duration of alimony, as well as the initial consideration of whether spousal support is appropriate. Please contact at Glasgow & Olsson to learn more about how they apply to your case. You can reach our office to schedule a consultation by calling 847-577-8700 or visiting us online.
(image courtesy of Estefania Solveyra)