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Strategic Divorce

Is alimony paid for life in Illinois?

  • By: Gene Kirzhner
  • Published: April 5, 2022

A direct question deserves a direct response: perhaps. However, if a couple has only been married 20 years or more, the court may order the paying spouse to pay alimony for life. The court will, however, take other matters into consideration. For example, alimony payments may cease if the spouse receiving maintenance support becomes financially self-sufficient.

In 2015, the state of Illinois passed a new law regulating alimony payments. For the first time in its history, a standardized formula called “maintenance” was enacted, based on the length of a marriage plus the duration for which an individual was ordered to pay maintenance.

The standardized formula calculates the net income of the payee along with the length of a marriage.

For example, 25% of the payee’s net income = the yearly maintenance. Moreover, spousal support cannot cause one spouse to exceed 40% of a couple’s combined income.

The list below calculates the amount of support payments mandated by the court determined by how many years a couple has been married.

  • Married less than 5 years: 20%
  • Married 5 years: 24%
  • Married 6 year: 28%
  • Married 7 years: 32%
  • Married 8 years: 36%
  • Married 9 years: 40%
  • Married 10 years: 44%
  • Married 11 years: 48%
  • Married 12 years: 52%
  • Married 13 years: 56%
  • Married 14 years: 60%
  • Married 15 years: 64%
  • Married 16 years: 68%
  • Married 17 years: 72%
  • Married 18 years: 76%
  • Married 19 years: 80%
  • Married 20 years or more: the court will either order permanent spousal support or maintenance for the length of the marriage.

How Much Will be Awarded?

Maintenance guidelines in the state of Illinois stipulate that when couples earn a combined annual income of less than $500.000, along with no child support or additional support maintenance from a previous marriage, the standard formula (above) is applied to determine the amount of alimony to be paid.

The standardized formula can also be used in complex divorce cases where a couple’s finances may be unique; the guideline can provide a general rule, as a starting point. The state of Illinois also periodically updates its guidelines to reflect changing economic trends.

Calculation Examples

Listed below are examples of monthly spousal maintenance based on income:

Payee’s monthly Income       Receivers Monthly Income         Maintenance Awarded  

$3,000                                      $1,000                                            $600

$4,000                                      $1,000                                            $1,000

$5,000                                      $1,000                                            $1,300

$6,000                                      $1,000                                            $1,600

NOTE: The above figures do not take into account support maintenance duration.

For more information on how we can best serve you, please contact the law firm of Strategic Divorce at 847-234-4445 for a free consultation.

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