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Understanding how courts in Illinois determine spousal support

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | Divorce |

There tend to be a lot of misconceptions about how much spousal support divorcing spouses may receive. In Illinois, a person’s eligibility for support and the amount of support can depend on several key factors and formulaic standards.

Here are some of the most important things that individuals who are getting a divorce should understand about spousal maintenance orders in Illinois.

Eligibility for support

Under Illinois’ statutory law, the length of a marriage may be determinative of a support award. Other relevant considerations include spouses’ respective assets, income, and earning capacity.

Calculating payments

Illinois’ statute on spousal maintenance uses percentage-based formulas to assess payment obligations. Typically, courts set orders by taking 33.5% of the payor’s income and subtracting 25% of the income of the person receiving the payments. Payments may not exceed 40% of the total income of both parties.

The duration of support

Spousal maintenance orders do not last indefinitely, and the duration of an order can depend almost entirely on the length of a marriage. If a marriage was five years or less, the order to make payments generally continues for 20% of the length of a marriage. For example,  maintenance payments between a couple divorcing after five years would not exceed one year. After the five-year mark, the length of a support order increases by approximately 4% for every year of marriage.

Courts award support to accommodate individuals’ situations at the time of a divorce. Either party may seek a modification if there is a material change in their situation at any time while an order is in effect.