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How Much Alimony Can You Get In Illinois?

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Plainfield Divorce Lawyer

Divorce cases sometimes include an order requiring one spouse to provide continued financial support to the other spouse. These payments are referred to as “spousal maintenance” in Illinois law, but the terms “alimony” and “spousal support” are sometimes used colloquially.  If you are getting divorced, you may have questions about the role spousal maintenance will play in your case. Read on to learn more.

Circumstances Under Which Spousal Maintenance May be Ordered

Spousal maintenance is only ordered in a small percentage of Illinois divorce cases. There are three main circumstances under which a spouse may receive maintenance payments in a divorce:

  • Mutual agreement between the parties – Divorcing spouses may negotiate the terms of maintenance during the divorce process. For example, consider a divorcing couple who owns a family business. The spouses may work out an agreement in which one spouse keeps the business but the other spouse receives spousal maintenance payments.

  • A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement – Some spouses sign prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements that define the conditions of spousal maintenance in the event of divorce. Courts uphold the decisions described in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements unless there are issues with the agreement that make it invalid.

  • Court order – If the spouses cannot negotiate an agreement about spousal maintenance, the court will make a determination based on the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial circumstances and earning capacity, and other relevant factors.

Spousal Support Payment Amounts

If the court determines maintenance during a divorce, the amount a spouse pays is usually based on a statutory formula. One-quarter of the recipient’s net income is subtracted from one-third of the paying spouse’s net income to find the payment amount. This payment amount cannot e more than the spouses’ combined net incomes. The duration of payments is usually based on the length of the marriage. The longer the spouses were married, the longer the recipient is entitled to maintenance.

Contact a Plainfield Divorce Lawyer

Divorce has a massive financial impact. In some divorce cases, one spouse is required to pay spousal maintenance to the other spouse to offset some of the financial hardship caused by divorce. Spousal maintenance may be based on an agreement or court order.

Whether you are the person who pays spousal maintenance or you receive maintenance payments, a Joliet divorce attorney from Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can protect your rights. Our skilled team has experience in complex divorce cases and can provide legal support and guidance regarding spousal support, property division, child custody, and more. Call 815-666-1285 and set up a free consultation today.


spousal maintenance, Joliet family law attorney

Originally Posted June 8, 2016 - Updated 11-9-2021

Spousal maintenance or alimony offers a lesser-earning spouse the financial support they need after a divorce. However, Illinois laws regarding spousal maintenance have changed in the last few years. If you or your spouse are interested in pursuing a spousal maintenance award during your divorce, it is important to know how these legislative changes can impact your case. 

If spousal maintenance is awarded by the court, the amount of maintenance a spouse may receive is now calculated using the sposues’ net incomes. Gross income is no longer used by the court when deciding the amount of maintenance a spouse receives. 

Furthermore, alimony in Illinois is no longer tax deductible for the paying spouse. The recipient spouse cannot count alimony payments as taxable income. 

When determining maintenance awards, courts typically use a statutory formula. In 2021, courts may deviate from this formula if the couple makes more than $500,000 a year.

Spousal maintenance can be complicated and confusing. Contact a skilled Joliet divorce lawyer from Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. for help.

In the original stage version of The Odd Couple, Oscar Madison's alimony obligation is used to provide character background and to solidify the notion that he was divorced. While Neil Simon's play about vastly different roommates is now more than 50 years old, many people still assume that alimony, currently called spousal maintenance under Illinois law, is virtually an automatic part of the divorce process. In today's world, however, such an assumption is no longer true.

The Purpose of Spousal Maintenance

The original concept of maintenance is a product of a previous era in which men were the primary wage-earners in their families and women, by and large, stayed home to manage the house and children. There were always exceptions, to be sure, but the social expectations were very real. Thus, if and when a divorce was necessary, the wife would often be left without a way to support herself. In such cases, alimony was usually found to be appropriate to help keep the woman—and often the couple's children—afloat financially. There were enough such situations that alimony quickly became almost an expectation following a divorce.

Need-Based Maintenance Awards

Under current Illinois law, spousal maintenance is not presumed to be appropriate in every situation. Family situations today look much different than they did in previous generations, with spouses contributing to household finances more equitably than ever before, and other responsibilities shared more evenly. This also means that there no real way to create a legal standard that would apply to all of the various possible scenarios.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that spousal maintenance is to be considered on a case-by-case basis, assuming there is no valid agreement regarding maintenance between the parties. Maintenance will only be awarded if the court determines there is a need for such support, based on a number of factors including, but not limited to:

  • The income and needs of each spouse;
  • The portion of the marital estate being allocated to each spouse;
  • Each spouse's age, health, and employability;
  • The ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to become self-sufficient;
  • The contributions of each spouse to the other's career or income potential; and
  • The length of the marriage and the standard of living established.

When maintenance is appropriate, there is a formula in the law to be used in most cases. The court retains the discretion to deviate from the statutory formula depending on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce.

We Can Help

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about receiving spousal maintenance, contact an experienced Joliet family law attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we will help you understand your options and responsibilities under the law. Schedule your free initial consultation today.



IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce can lead to a variety of financial difficulties for both you and your spouse. In addition to addressing the costs of the divorce process itself, you will both need to determine how you will be able to meet your needs based on a single income rather than a combined income. This adjustment may be especially difficult for a person who relied on their spouse as the family’s primary income earner. A spouse who is at a financial disadvantage may be able to receive spousal support. In these cases, the parties will want to be sure to understand how the amount of support will be calculated and how long the payments will last.

Determining the Duration of Spousal Support Payments

Illinois law uses the term “spousal maintenance” for payments made by one spouse to the other following their divorce. Typically, spousal maintenance will be awarded if one spouse needs support to ensure that they can maintain the standard of living they had during their marriage. Spouses may agree that spousal support will be paid when they create a divorce settlement, or in cases where litigation will be required to resolve divorce-related issues, a judge may choose to award maintenance to one spouse after considering factors such as the parties’ financial resources and ongoing needs, whether one spouse made sacrifices during their marriage that affected their career, and whether one party helped the other obtain education or otherwise assisted in their career advancement.

If maintenance is awarded, the amount that will be paid will be calculated based on the income earned by both spouses. The duration that payments will last will depend on whether maintenance is fixed-term, indefinite, or reviewable.

Fixed-term maintenance is awarded in most cases, and payments will last for a specific period of time based on the amount of time the couple was married. In these cases, the duration of maintenance will be based on a percentage of the time the couple was married. For example, if a couple was married for between 12 and 13 years, maintenance will be paid for 52% of the length of their marriage.

Indefinite maintenance may be awarded if a couple was married for at least 20 years or if a spouse has extraordinary needs, such as a disability that prevents them from working and earning an income. In these cases, maintenance will have no termination date, and it will continue to be paid unless the court grants a request for maintenance to be modified or terminated.

Reviewable maintenance may be appropriate if a spouse needs some time to obtain education or pursue employment. In these cases, maintenance may be paid for a specific amount of time, after which the court will review the case to determine whether support is still necessary or whether payments should be modified or terminated.

Contact Our Joliet Spousal Support Attorneys

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you understand how Illinois’ laws related to spousal support apply in your divorce case. We will advocate on your behalf throughout the divorce process to help you reach an outcome that will protect your financial interests and provide for your ongoing needs. Contact our Plainfield spousal maintenance lawyers today by calling 815-666-1285 to arrange a free consultation.



Joliet alimony attorneysThe number of divorce cases involving spousal maintenance have declined significantly over the last decade. Still, some divorcing parties may need financial assistance from their ex-spouse to achieve a self-sustaining future. Disabled parties who may not have previously qualified for social security because their marital income was too high, stay-at-home parents with little to no recent job training or experience, and financially disadvantaged spouses incapable of maintaining the lifestyle that their marriage afforded are a just a few examples.

Starting January 1, 2019, the tax laws that currently apply to spousal maintenance (which have been in place for more than 70 years) will be completely annihilated. What might this mean for you in your Illinois divorce, and how might it impact your future financial well-being? Learn more in the following sections, and discover how our seasoned divorce lawyers may be able to help mitigate the issues in your case.

Understanding the Changes to Spousal Maintenance Tax Laws 

Spouses who pay alimony have long relied on the tax law that made their spousal maintenance payments tax deductible. Spouses who received alimony had to claim their maintenance payments as taxable income at the end of the year, but it did not always impact them at tax time, as few receive a high enough payment to change their tax bracket. A direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's passage earlier this year, these changes will impact spousal maintenance laws, nationwide.

New Law is Expected to Leave Less Money for the Family Unit

Parties who expect to pay alimony in their divorce have long dreaded the turning of the calendar because they know it means they will likely have less money at the end of the year. What was not initially clear was how receiving spouses would be impacted. Sadly, their fate could result in downright disturbing financial consequences.

The reason for this is simple: The tax cut often dropped a paying spouse into a lower tax bracket at the end of the year, which gave them more discretionary spending money. As a result, paying spouses were often more likely to agree to a higher maintenance payment during divorce negotiations.

Because spousal maintenance payments will no longer be deductible, the payer's tax responsibility at the end of the year will remain the same, even if they pay alimony. If they were held to the same payment standard as before, they might end up with even less discretionary spending money (the amount a party has after their bills and expenses are paid) than the spouse to which they are making payments. Since the law would not allow this to happen in most situations, the paying spouse's maintenance obligation will likely be lower under the new law - so receiving spouses are getting less money. To make matters worse, paying parties may be less likely to even negotiate an alimony payment, as they are not receiving any benefits for paying. If ordered to pay, some parties still may refuse to do so, as there is no benefit for them.

How Our Joliet Divorce Lawyers Can Help with Your 2019 Divorce 

At Tedone & Morton, P.C., we work hard to protect the financial interests of our clients. Whether you expect to pay support or receive it in 2019, our seasoned Plainfield, IL divorce lawyers can help to mitigate the issues that may threaten your financial well-being. Call 815-666-1285 today.


Determining Alimony in an Illinois Divorce

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Illinois alimony attorneysAlthough not awarded as frequently as it once was, alimony (also known as spousal support) can provide financial relief for a disadvantaged spouse during and after divorce. Available as either a temporary or, in some cases, permanent aid, alimony is paid by a higher-income spouse to one that is disadvantaged. How do you determine if you are disadvantaged, how much might you be owed, and how can you increase your chances of receiving what you are entitled to in your divorce? The following information explains.

Are You Eligible?

Before an individual can determine the amount of spousal support they may be owed, they must first be deemed eligible for alimony payments. The courts do this by examining the financial situation and other aspects of the marriage, such as:

  • A spouse that has given up their career or education to advance the career of the other;
  • Physical, emotional, or mental issues that hinder the employability of a disadvantaged spouse;
  • Non-monetary contributions, such as caring for the home or children;
  • A significant financial disparity between spouses (even if both are working); and
  • A lack of training or education that is a direct result of the disadvantaged spouse's sacrifice.

This list is, by no means, comprehensive. Any number of circumstances or situations could result in an alimony award. Your attorney can answer any questions you may have about your eligibility for spousal support.

How Much Are You Owed?

In most cases, alimony is calculated using a basic formula. The courts look at the income of each party and subtract 20 percent of the receiving party's income from 30 percent of the paying party's income. Provided this amount does not exceed 40 percent of the couple's combined income, it is then multiplied by a pre-designated factor to determine how long support will be paid. This factor in the formula is based on the number of years the couple was married (0.20 for 5 or less; 0.40 for 5-10 years; 0.60 for 10-15 years; 0.80 for 15-20 years, and possible permanent support for any marriage lasting over 20 years).

How Our Joliet Divorce Lawyers Can Help

You do not have to wait until your divorce has been finalized to receive support. You also do not have to fight the battle alone. Instead, contact Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. for experienced legal assistance. Dedicated and experienced, our Joliet divorce lawyers will protect your rights, including your right to pursue alimony in a divorce. Get started by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call our offices at 815-666-1285 today.


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