"During this COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to provide collaborative family law services for divorce, post-decree, pre and postnuptial, and parentage matters. All negotiations are done outside of the court process and we are able to have these collaborative settlement meetings virtually, through audio/video meeting technology. This allows us to abide by the Federal and State guidelines for "social distancing" while continuing to move your case to full and final resolution. In addition, courts in the Chicago metropolitan area are now operating through a combination of in-person and virtual court proceedings, depending on the county. After a few months of delays, we are now able to move court cases forward. Of course, as always, we continue to provide free initial consultations, which can be performed virtually using audio/video technology. We look forward to serving you soon." -- Lawrence Manassa

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How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?

How is Spousal Maintenance Calculated in Illinois?

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.

Reviewable Maintenance

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 Barrington Divorce
Attorneys

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 Manassa Bozcjuk, P.C. at
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 both our Crystal Lake and Barrington offices. Call today!