Illinois Spousal Maintenance Guidelines and Your Divorce
When a judge issues a spousal maintenance or spousal support order, one spouse must pay a certain amount of money on a regular basis to the other spouse. You only receive maintenance if the judge decides that you need it and your spouse has the ability to pay it. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains uniform guidelines for spousal maintenance orders in Illinois divorce proceedings. The goal of the guidelines is to make spousal maintenance awards in divorce more consistent and to let you know what to expect if you get spousal maintenance in your Illinois divorce.
Application of the Spousal Maintenance Guidelines
The spousal maintenance guidelines apply only when the judge already decided that maintenance is appropriate. To determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in your case, the judge must consider several factors, including the following for both parties:
- All sources of income and property, including disability and retirement income;
- Realistic future earnings potential and employable status;
- Responsibility for marital debts and other liabilities;
- Age, health and station in life; and
- Financial needs.
If spousal maintenance is appropriate in your case, the next step is to see if the spousal maintenance guidelines apply in your case. In order for the guidelines to apply, the combined gross income of the parties must be less than $250,000, and there must be no multiple family situations. If your case doesn’t meet these requirements, then the judge does not have to apply the guidelines in deciding how much maintenance you get and how long your spouse will have to pay it.
Calculation of Spousal Maintenance Under the Guidelines
The guidelines create a mathematical formula for deciding what amount of spousal maintenance, as well as how long you will continue to get spousal maintenance. Additionally, the amount of spousal maintenance directly affects any child support orders in the case, so you must calculate spousal maintenance under the guidelines before you calculate child support. The length of your marriage is a major determining factor. Generally, a marriage that lasted over 10 years is much more likely to result in a spousal maintenance award than a marriage that lasted only two or three years. Your financial situation also is very important in calculating spousal maintenance. For example, if you stayed at home and raised the kids for years while your husband went to school, got his degree, and built a successful career, then you may be more likely to get spousal maintenance.
Contact Your Palatine Divorce Attorney Today
Skilled Palatine, IL family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson is here to help you through your divorce case, involving various factors like spousal support, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities or property division. No divorce is easy, but Attorney Richardson knows answers your questions and provides legal guidance throughout the process. While you focus on making a new life for yourself, he will be there to handle the legal issues as they come up.