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A statutory formula determines maintenance in a divorce

| Nov 24, 2020 | Divorce |

Legislation enacted in 2019 addresses the subject of alimony, called maintenance in Illinois, in a divorce proceeding.

The court uses a statutory formula to determine how much maintenance to grant and for what period of time.

Major calculation changes

Changes in the tax code resulted in the Illinois legislature making major changes to the state’s divorce maintenance law, effective January 1, 2019. Under the old maintenance law, the calculation involved taking 30% of the gross income of the higher-earning spouse and subtracting 20% of the gross income of the lower-earning spouse. The new statute determines maintenance by taking 33-1/3% of the net annual income of the payor and subtracting 25% of the net annual income of the payee.

Relevant factors

If the court finds that a maintenance award is appropriate, the determination will depend on a variety of relevant factors, including:

– the needs of each party

– the income and marital property of each party

– the present and future earning capacity of each party

– the ability of the party seeking maintenance to support himself or herself

– parental responsibilities

– the duration of the marriage

– the standard of living established during the marriage

– the age and health of each party

– the sources of public and private income

– the tax consequences to each party

Who the new law affects

The 2019 Illinois maintenance law only applies to a divorcing couple whose combined gross annual income is less than $500,000. Guidance in understanding the various aspects of the new law will help divorcing couples know what to expect from a statute that may affect them on a long-term basis.