Beginning January 1, 2015, Illinois law dramatically changed the way maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) is calculated in divorces for couples who have a gross income of less than $250,000. The new divorce law provides more predictability for maintenance awards by providing judges a formula to calculate maintenance. Previously, judges calculated maintenance based on a list of factors appearing in Sections 504 and 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. By considering this list of factors, rather than calculating figures according to a set formula, maintenance awards could vary greatly between judges.
How Much Alimony or Maintenance Will I Receive?
- Husband’s gross income = $100,000 per year, Wife’s gross income is $0: Here, Husband would be the payor, and Wife the payee.
Maintenance, or Alimony = ($100,000 x .30) – ($0 x .20) = 30,000 – 0 = $30,000 per year
- Wife’s gross income is $70,000 per year, Husband’s gross income is $30,000: Here, Wife would be the payor, and Husband the payee.
Maintenance, or Alimony = ($70,000 x .30) – ($30,000 x .20) = 21,000 – 6,000 = $15,000 per year
However, as previously mentioned, the Payee cannot end up with more than 40% of the couple’s gross income after the maintenance award is added to the Payee’s gross income.
Here, 40% of the couple’s gross income of $100,000 would be $40,000. Wife’s gross income plus the maintenance award would is $45,000, which is more than 40% of the couple’s total gross income. Therefore, in order for Wife not to exceed the $40,000 limit, Husband only owes Wife $10,000 per in year in maintenance.
How to Calculate Alimony or Maintenance Amount
Calculating the Length of Alimony or Maintenance
- .20 for a marriage that lasted 0-5 years
- .40 for 4-10 years
- .60 for 10-15 years
- .80 for 15-20 years
- Maintenance duration for a 4 year marriage = 4 years x .2 = .8 years
- Maintenance duration for a 6 year marriage = 6 years x .4 = 2.4 years