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Maintenance / Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance / Alimony Attorneys Serving Kane, Kendall & DeKalb Counties

How is spousal maintenance calculated in Illinois?

Maintenance depends on a number of factors, including the combined income of the parties, the amount of time a couple was married and their gross income (note – this is set to change to “net” income on January 1, 2019). For couples with a combined income of $500,000 or less, the court will calculate maintenance by subtracting 20% of the payee’s gross income from 30% of the payor’s gross income to come up with the maintenance amount (note: these amounts will be changing as of 1/1/2019, as well). However, that amount must be less than 40% of the total income of both parties, or else it is capped at 40%. The longer the couple is married, the longer the maintenance obligation, and for parties married over 20 year, maintenance can be assigned for an indefinite term.

**The parties (or the judge) can choose to veer away from the statutory maintenance amount if it is in the best interest of the parties, but there must be a rationale given for the deviation and it must be accepted by the court.

Maintenance can be confusing – contact a divorce and family law attorney for help.

While many individuals believe their marriages will last for a lifetime, the truth is that many of them will end up failing. When that happens, it is important to understand that the divorce process is not necessarily an easy one. There are many consequences come along with it, including things like alimony and spousal support. Luckily, an experienced lawyer, like those from Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD can help ensure that your rights and your needs are taken care of during your divorce proceedings.

Maintenance and Spousal Support: An Overview

Alimony and spousal maintenance are often used interchangeably, and for good reason: they are synonymous. Both terms refer to the concept of one spouse being ordered to pay another upon the dissolution of a marriage.  The concept evolved from the idea that couples, even when they separate, have become accustomed a certain standard of living, and that this standard of living should not have to change abruptly simply because their marriage was coming to an end.

Maintenance is awarded to the spouse who traditionally, throughout the marriage, earned the least amount of money.  That being said, the awarding of alimony also depends greatly on the roles that individual spouses played in the marriage. If a wife was primarily responsible for keeping up the home or taking care of the children, for example, and was dependent primarily upon their husband for support as a result, then she might be a great candidate for receiving alimony. The same is true if the roles were reversed and it was the husband taking care of the family and putting his career on hold.

When it comes to alimony, there are numerous types. These include indefinite, temporary, and rehabilitative, and each have their own distinct requirements.

Temporary Maintenance

As the name suggests, temporary maintenance is that which is awarded for a specific time frame with a definitive beginning and end.  Generally, it is awarded in cases in which, without it, the spouse that had been historically receiving inferior or no pay would be completely destitute.  It’s meant to provide the spouse with less financial means with the ability to bridge the gap between regular access to funds to support herself to being able to stand on their own two feet.  This kind of alimony might be requested to cover expenses like rent and utilities, car payments and insurance, or other discretionary costs.  The time frame that temporary alimony will be issued for depends upon to specific circumstances in individual cases.

Rehabilitative Maintenance

This type of Maintenance, much like the temporary variety, allows for a spouse with inferior financial stability to be awarded a financial amount that will allow them to either complete their education or fund a job training program.  If awarded, this amount would be intended to cover the necessary costs associated to bring the spouse up to speed in order to return to the workforce following a divorce.

Many stay-at-home spouses who have not held jobs for many years as a result of their child rearing tend to request this type of Maintenance.  Although awarded on a temporary basis, many judges will order that this type of spousal support continue until a time at which the classes or training end, or when the spouse otherwise becomes financially independent.

Indefinite Maintenance

Indefinite spousal support is intended to be paid to the less financially stable spouse until the point at which the more financially secure one dies or the recipient remarries. This specifically applies in cases in which a marriage was either a long one or the recipient has some type of disability that precludes them from working.

Determining How Maintenance Is Awarded

In making a determination about whether and how much maintenance will be awarded, judges will utilize their own discretion in doing so.  Among the many factors that will be considered by the judge are the following:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Whether the recipient’s primary role was either as a stay-at-home parent or homemaker
  • The prospective future earnings for both spouses

Additionally, the judge will take into account how old the spouse is as well as their current and projected physical, mental, and emotional health. If children are part of the scenario, the potential for the custodial parent to earn less because of their responsibility to care for their child or children will also play a role in making such a determination.

Contact A Spousal Maintenance / Alimony Attorney For Help!

With all of this in mind, although it’s enormously helpful to set maintenance as part of negotiating a divorce agreement, there are cases in which this does not occur.  If you or someone you know is seeking to secure maintenance either in conjunction with a divorce or in a follow up to it, the advice and counsel of one of our attorneys at Van Der Snick Law Firm LTD can help shed light on how to attain the best results.