We understand that the availability of spousal maintenance can be a considerable factor in whether a spouse wishes to pursue divorce. If there is an income disparity between divorcing spouses, spousal maintenance may be available.
For the lesser-earning spouse, knowing that spousal maintenance is available and at what level may give the spouse more security when deciding whether divorce is an option. For the income earning spouse, the possibility of making spousal maintenance payments is a consideration that should be examined at the outset.
Spousal maintenance is sometimes referred to as spousal support or alimony. There are several important facts about spousal maintenance that those going through the divorce process should understand.
Spousal maintenance can be temporary or last for years after the marriage.
Temporary spousal maintenance is awarded only for the time that the divorce is pending. The party seeking support will file an affidavit averring to the couple’s finances.
The petitioner will also provide any necessary documentation such as tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. The other spouse can challenge any falsities in the affidavit.
Typically, the judge will determine if temporary spousal maintenance is proper based on affidavits and documentation alone.
A judge will look at multiple factors to determine if spousal maintenance is appropriate.
The law requires a judge’s consideration to include:
- The assets of each spouse;
- The needs of each spouse;
- The earning capacity of each spouse now and in the future;
- The impairment of one spouse’s earning capacity because of that spouse devoting time to domestic duties;
- The amount of time a spouse will need to be able to support himself or herself; and
- The standard of living enjoyed by the spouses during the marriage.
Illinois law specifically forbids a court from considering marital misconduct in determining if spousal maintenance is appropriate.
Spousal maintenance is set according to a standard formula.
Illinois law sets forth a formula for determining temporary and permanent spousal maintenance for couples whose combined gross income is less than $250,000, and there is a not a multiple family situation.
To determine the maintenance award, the court must take 30 percent of the payor’s gross income and subtract 20 percent of the payee’s gross income. This amount, however, cannot be more than 40 percent of the combined gross income of both spouses.
In order to determine how long spousal maintenance will continue, the court will multiply the length of the marriage by the applicable factor listed in parentheses.
- 0-5 years (.20);
- 5-10 years (.40);
- 10-15 years (.60); and
- 15-20 years (.80).
In cases where the marriage lasted 20 years or longer, the court can order permanent maintenance that would cease at the death of one of the parties or maintenance for a time period that is equal to the length of the marriage.
Contact a Glen Ellyn, IL Alimony Lawyer
If you have any questions related to spousal maintenance, a skilled divorce attorney can help. To meet with one of the skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys at Mulyk Laho Law, LLC, call (630) 852-1100.