The Illinois Spousal Maintenance Statute

You and your partner have been married for ten years, but lately you are beginning to feel that divorce is inevitable. In truth, you have seen the divorce coming for some time, but you still have concerns about what the future will hold. What will your life look like when you are no longer married? Because you have been a stay-at-home parent during your marriage, you are worried about your career prospects and wonder if you will be able to make enough money on your own to pay your bills and support your children.

In cases like these, Illinois courts will award spousal maintenance in the form of monthly payments to one of the divorcing spouses. Illinois’ spousal maintenance law includes factors that courts use to determine whether to award spousal maintenance to a divorcing spouse. If the court does decide to award spousal support, it uses specific statutory formulas to determine how much maintenance the spouse will receive and the duration of spousal maintenance.

How the Illinois Courts Determine Whether or Not to Award Spousal Maintenance

In determining whether or not to award spousal maintenance, the court uses the use of a factor test. The main goal of Illinois family courts is to provide a source of income for spouses who may need time to become financially independent due to the nature of their marriage. Family courts analyze the following factors:

  • The income and property of each spouse, both property acquired during the marriage and before the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s needs;
  • The present and future earning ability of each spouse;
  • The "Homemaker Contribution" meaning the earning capacity of a spouse who may have forgone employment, education, or training to devote time to domestic duties;
  • Any impairment of the present or future earning ability of the spouse against whom maintenance is sought, and whether or not the spouse seeking maintenance can support him or herself;
  • The time necessary for the spouse seeking maintenance to obtain the appropriate training, education, and employment to support him or herself adequately;
  • The spouses' standard of living during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The emotional condition, age, and physical health of each spouse;
  • All sources of private and public income, including retirement and disability income;
  • Tax consequences of the divorce on each spouse;
  • Contributions of one spouse to the career, training, or education of the other spouse;
  • Agreements between the parties as to spousal maintenance in the event of a divorce;
  • Any other just and equitable factor.

If the court does find that awarding spousal maintenance is appropriate, it will apply a statutory formula. This formula will determine the monthly spousal maintenance amount, but only when the following two conditions occur:

  • The gross yearly income of the divorcing couple is less than $500,000, and
  • Neither of the divorcing spouses has children from a previous marriage.

If the two requirements do not happen, then family courts have the discretion to determine a maintenance award amount based on the 14 factors listed above. If you are planning on going through a divorce, the skilled Cook County spousal maintenance attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson will strongly advocate for your rights. Contact us today to set up your consultation.

(image courtesy of Eric Muhr)

This entry was posted in: 

And tagged: