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Changes to Illinois’ Spousal Maintenance Laws in 2018

Posted on in Divorce

Barrington alimony lawyerWhen a married couple dissolves their marriage through divorce, they should both be able to continue living at a standard that is similar to what they enjoyed while they were married. Unfortunately, some spouses do not have the financial resources that will allow them to do so, perhaps because they earn less than their former partner, because their family obligations prevent them from working a full-time job, or because they passed up job opportunities during their marriage while supporting their spouse’s career advancement. 

In cases when a spouse is at a financial disadvantage following divorce, they may be able to receive spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) from their former spouse, especially if they made sacrifices to their own earning ability during their marriage or contributed to the education and training that allowed their former partner to increase the income they earn. However, divorcing spouses should be sure they understand recent changes to the law that affect spousal maintenance awards.

Updated Maintenance Laws in Illinois

On January 1, 2018, a change to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect, and it updated the percentages used to determine the duration of a spousal maintenance award. The amount of time during which a spouse will pay maintenance is based on the length of the marriage at the time a spouse filed for divorce, and previously, the percentages were based on five-year increments. For example, for a marriage of 5 to 10 years, maintenance would be paid for 40% of the length of the marriage. 

The updated law takes a much more granular approach, breaking percentages down into smaller increments as follows:

  • Less than 5 years: 20%
  • 5 years: 24%
  • 6 years: 28%
  • 7 years: 32%
  • 8 years: 36%
  • 9 years: 40%
  • 10 years: 44%
  • 11 years: 48%
  • 12 years: 52%
  • 13 years: 56%
  • 14 years: 60%
  • 15 years: 64%
  • 16 years: 68%
  • 17 years: 72%
  • 18 years: 76%
  • 19 years: 80%
  • 20 or more years: 100%, or for an indefinite term

Under the updated law, if spouses were married for eight years and seven months (103 months), maintenance payments would last for 36% of that time, or three years and one month (37 months). If a marriage lasted 15 years and six months (186 months), maintenance would be paid for 64% of that time, or nine years and 11 months (119 months).

One other change the law made is that these percentages apply in situations when spouses’ combined gross income is less than $500,000. Previously, this limit was $250,000. For spouses who earn a combined income of more than $500,000, decisions about the amount and duration of maintenance will be made on an individual basis after considering all relevant factors, such as each spouse’s age and health, the income they earn, the assets they own, and their earning ability.

Contact an Arlington Heights Spousal Maintenance Attorney

If you need help determining whether you should pay or receive maintenance following your divorce and how long those payments will last, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your rights and obligations while advocating for your best interests and working to protect your financial security. Contact our Schaumburg divorce lawyers at 847-995-9999 to set up a free consultation.



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