How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois? – According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 26,132 divorces and annulments in the state of Illinois in 2016. This was the fewest number of divorces in the state over the last several years. In Illinois, spousal maintenance is a component of most divorces. It is strictly based on need and is gender-neutral. That means both men and women could be responsible for paying spousal maintenance. The requirement for paying spousal maintenance depends on numerous factors, including income levels. The goal of spousal maintenance is to ensure both parties are able to maintain the standard of living they had during the marriage for a specified period of time following the divorce. It is intended to give the lower-earning spouse the income they need to get back on their feet after a divorce or
separation. Without spousal maintenance, many divorcing couples would be unable to live independently from their former spouse.
Understanding Spousal Maintenance in Illinois
Spousal maintenance in Illinois has changed in recent years. In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed and eliminated the deduction of spousal maintenance payments for payers. After the TCJA, recipients were no longer required to report payments as taxable income. In 2018, the formula used to determine spousal maintenance in Illinois also changed. With those changes, the duration of maintenance was reduced. These changes required Illinois to edit their spousal maintenance statutes. Until the TCJA went into effect, Illinois based spousal maintenance calculations on gross income. That is because the tax liability was transferred to the other spouse when the tax deductions were still allowed. For divorce cases filed in 2019 or after, Illinois’ new formula to determine spousal maintenance will be based on net income, not gross income. However, the TCJA stated that maintenance judgments prior to 2019 would be allowed to retain the deductibility. As such, it was necessary for Illinois to maintain the original formula based on gross income for pre-2019 divorce judgments. The result is two maintenance-guideline formulas.
The New Spousal Maintenance Formula
The new spousal maintenance formula is based on the net income of both parties.
According to the Illinois State Bar Association, “the formula is 33 ⅓ percent
of the payor’s annual net income minus 25 percent of the recipient’s annual net income.” It is important to know that the recipient’s own net income plus maintenance is not allowed to exceed 40 percent of both parties’ combined annual net income. The new formula is used to calculate spousal maintenance for families with a combined annual gross income of less than $500,000. There were some situations when the amount of child support and spousal maintenance, including support obligations from prior relationships, exceeded 50 percent of the payor’s net income. When this occurs, the court may deviate from the formula and choose whether to reduce the child support payments or the spousal maintenance. This deviation is at the discretion of the court alone.
Determining the Type of Maintenance
The new guidelines specifically reference which type of maintenance options are available to divorcing individuals. The courts must designate which form of maintenance is being awarded during a divorce. Any kind of maintenance can be applied to any divorce, regardless of the length of the marriage. However, the length of the marriage will affect the duration of the maintenance payee will receive.
Fixed-term Maintenance (Generally Rehabilitative Maintenance)
This type of maintenance is granted by the courts for a fixed amount of time. Maintenance is barred at the end of the period.
Indefinite Maintenance (Generally Permanent Maintenance)
This type of spousal maintenance continues for an indefinite amount of time. The courts do not designate an end date when indefinite spousal maintenance is granted.
This type of spousal maintenance is granted for a specific length of time. At the end of this time, the courts will review and make a finding regarding further maintenance payments.
Contact Our Illinois Alimony Attorney today
Divorce is never easy. However, with the right legal assistance and an experienced Barrington Divorce Attorney in your corner, the process can go smoothly. To learn more about divorce, spousal maintenance, or parental rights, call our law firm immediately. We can assist you through the divorce process and protect your rights to spousal maintenance. Don’t go it alone. Call 866-420-5925 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free consultation with one of our skilled Barrington divorce lawyers. We are dedicated to serving clients at our North Barrington, Waukegan, and Hinsdale offices. Call today!