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In Illinois, the spouse with the most income pays for alimony (also sometimes called spousal support or maintenance). However, alimony is not guaranteed in Illinois. The courts consider the ability to earn in the present, the ability to earn in the future, the need to care for young children, and the distribution of property in a divorce case involving alimony. In Lake County, Illinois, the judges usually apply a statutory formula. The statutory formula determines the amount of alimony that’s going to be paid. If the formula says no alimony, then there will be no alimony.

How Is the Amount of Alimony or Spousal Support Determined in Illinois?

The amount of alimony is based on a calculation that’s outlined in the law. It considers each party’s respective net incomes from all sources. The statutory formula calls for 33.333% of the payor’s net income less than 25% of the payee’s net income. The outcome of the formula equals the yearly alimony that should be paid. However, the maintenance cannot cause one spouse to earn more than 40% of the couple’s combined income.

Even though there is a statutory formula, the calculated amount can be negotiated by the spouses if there are unusual circumstances. However, it is not common to deviate from the formula, and the statutory amount is usually applied.

When Does Alimony or Spousal Support Begin in Illinois? Can I Get Alimony During Separation?

It is possible to begin receiving alimony before the conclusion of your divorce case; this is referred to as temporary support. The amount you receive in temporary support may be calculated based on the statute, and the amount you receive may not be the same amount granted at the conclusion of the case. Your spouse’s income and marital assets investigated during the case could affect the final calculation.

If spousal support begins during the course of the case or before the divorce is final, those support payments can be considered the start of alimony.

How Long Will I Have to Pay or Receive Alimony or Spousal Support in Illinois?

How long you will receive (or pay) alimony depends on how long you were married. The years of marriage are measured from the date of the marriage until the date the divorce case was filed. Sometimes the duration of alimony can be negotiated during settlement discussions, but usually, it is based on the statutory formula. If you were married less than five years, the length of your maintenance is calculated by multiplying the number of years you you’re married by 0.24. That multiplier changes according to how long you were married. For five years, the multiplier is 0.24; for ten years, it’s 0.44; for 15 years, it’s 0.64. For 20 years or more, the court may order alimony equal to the number of years of the marriage. However, each of these formulas is reviewable by the court and may be changed based on specific circumstances.

If you’ve been married for ten or more years, alimony does not automatically stop when the initial period is over. Once the initial period (determined by the multiplier) is over, the court will determine if alimony should continue based on the needs of the receiving spouse, the paying spouse’s ability to pay, and the total circumstances at the time of the review.

Can the Amount of Spousal Support or Alimony Ever Be Changed in Illinois?

Child support and alimony can be modified based on a substantial change in circumstances. The amount may need to be changed or altered if there is a substantial increase or decrease in either spouse’s income. It can also be modified for differences in living circumstances. You and your ex-spouse can agree on a change through negotiation or mediation, but if you cannot agree, either of you can file a petition with the court and the judge will decide how much, if any, change is appropriate.

In the case of alimony, if one of the ex-spouses dies, remarries or cohabitates, alimony will end in accordance with the statute.

How Does Committing Adultery Impact Spousal Support or Alimony in A Divorce?

Illinois is a no-fault state. One spouse’s bad behavior or adultery does not impact the other spouse’s right to alimony or property. It doesn’t affect the person who committed the adultery either. The court doesn’t penalize either party for immoral acts, except if a spouse’s negative acts used marital money for non-marital purposes, which is called “dissipation”. For example, a spouse that paid for an apartment for their paramour to live in can result in a requirement to reimburse that money to the marital estate.

What Factors Impact Division of Money and Assets in An Illinois Divorce?

Illinois has a law that lays out more than ten factors to be considered when deciding who gets what property in a divorce, including cash. These factors include the spouse’s potential to earn income in the future; the health, age, experience and education in the workforce for the spouse; the ages and needs of any minor children; the value of the marital estate; and each spouse’s award of non-marital property. The norm is a 50/50 split. However, the judge can deviate from the 50/50 split if he or she believes that one of the spouses needs additional assets due to the factors set out in the law. The judge is required to make determinations based on the needs and fairness for both spouses.

What Happens If I Own Property Before Marriage and Put It into Both Our Names After Marriage?

A transfer of property into joint ownership is considered a gift to the marriage. There are some exceptions, depending on the specific facts and circumstances that led you to putting the property into both names. Even if the property is found to be marital, there is often an ability to get some of the property back or have some reimbursement. If the property can be traced specifically to show that it was your asset before the marriage, you are more likely to get reimbursement.

Are Pension and Retirement Assets Divided the Same as Other Property in A Divorce in Illinois?

Pension and retirement assets can frequently have different tax consequences than other assets, such as cash or a house. For that reason, pension and retirement accounts are not split in the same manner as other types of assets, nor are they grouped with checking accounts or other cash. Pensions, retirement accounts, and other similar assets are usually grouped together and handled as a single group. Many factors may determine the split of these assets, including the work history of each spouse, the division of other property, and any amounts placed into the account or “earned” in the pension prior to the marriage.

For more information on Alimony/Spousal Support in A Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (847) 234-4445 for your free consultation today.

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