Amendments to Sections 504 and 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which standardizes the way maintenance (a.k.a. alimony) is calculated, have gone into effect in Illinois as of January 1, 2015.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, it is important to understand how these changes to Illinois divorce law affect the amount and duration of maintenance that will be awarded in your case.

After reading this article, contact Divorce Attorney Dominick Dolci or Alexander Sendlak to further discuss your case. We have offices in Chicago(312) 238-9007 and Oakbrook Terrace, IL(630) 261-9098.

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How Illinois Divorce Law Changed In 2015

Previously, in Illinois, judges were given a lot of discretion in determining the amount and duration of maintenance awarded in divorce cases. While there were (and still are) twelve specific factors the judge must take into consideration, it was often difficult to make an accurate prediction of what the maintenance award would actually be in any given case.

In conjunction with the new law, judges still use the twelve factors to determine if a maintenance award should be given but, as of January 1, 2015, there are new guidelines in place which use a standardized formula to calculate the amount of maintenance awarded, as well as the duration of the payments.

Use This Formula to Estimate Divorce Maintenance / Alimony Award in Your Case

FORMULA FOR MAINTENANCE AWARD: DURATION– To determine the maintenance award duration – use the following:

(Marriage 0-5 years) x (20%)
(Marriage 5-10 years) x (40%)
(Marriage 10-15 years) x (60%)
(Marriage 15-20 years) x (80%)
Marriages of 20+ years – court shall order either permanent maintenance or the length of the marriage

 

FORMULA FOR MAINTENANCE AWARD: AMOUNT– (30% of the payer’s income) – (20% of the receiver’s income)

*The receiver’s new income cannot exceed 40% of the parties’ combined income

Examples of Illinois Divorce Maintenance / Alimony Calculations Using New Standardized Formula

Maintenance Calculation on a Marriage with Two Incomes

Let’s say we have a couple who has a combined annual income of $200,000 per year, and who has been married for 16 years.

The wife’s income is $125,000 per year
The husband’s income is $75,000 per year

Assuming the court determined maintenance should be awarded, the court would calculate the maintenance award using the new formula:

($125,000) x (30%) = $37,500 (wife)
($75,000) x (20%) = $15,000 (husband)
$37,000 – 15,000 = $22,500

According to this calculation, the husband would be awarded $22,500 per year. However, when the maintenance is combined with the husband’s annual income of $75,000 it is over 40% of the couple’s combined annual income.

($200,000) x (40%) = $80,000
$22,500 + $75,000 = $97,500 (around 49%)

The husband’s maintenance award would then be decreased to around $5,000 per year to comply with the 40% rule. Finally, the court would calculate the duration of the payments.

(16 years) x (80%) = 12.8

CALCULATED AMOUNT AND DURATION OF DIVORCE MAINTENANCE AWARD

In this case, the husband would be awarded:

AMOUNT – $5,000 per year
DURATION – 12.8 years

Maintenance Calculation on a Marriage that Relies on One Income

Now, let’s say we have a couple with an annual income of $200,000 per year, and who has been married for 16 years, but only one of the parties earns an income.

Husband’s income – $200,000 per year
Wife’s income – $0

Assuming the court determined maintenance should be awarded, the court would calculate the maintenance award accordingly:

($200,000) x (30%) = $60,000 (husband)
($0) x (20%) = $0 (wife)
$60,000 – $0 = $60,000

According to this calculation, the wife would be awarded $60,000 per year. Since the maintenance award, when combined with the wife’s annual income of $0, is less than 40% of the couple’s combined annual income, the award does not need to be reduced to comply with the 40% rule.

($200,000) x (40%) = $80,000
$60,000 + $0 = $60,000 (equal to 30% of the couple’s annual income)

Finally, the court would calculate the duration of the divorce maintenance payments.

(16 years) x (80%) = 12.8

CALCULATED AMOUNT AND DURATION OF DIVORCE MAINTENANCE AWARD

In this case, the wife would be awarded:

AMOUNT – $60,000 per year
DURATION – 12.8 years

Takeaway from 2015 Illinois Divorce Maintenance Guidelines

By this point I’m sure you’ve used the formula to calculate the estimated maintenance award for your case. How does it compare to what you thought it would be prior to reading this article? Is it fair?

These amendments to Illinois Divorce Law are intended to standardize the way maintenance is calculated, but every situation is different and the new guidelines can have a big impact on the amount / duration of the maintenance awarded in many cases.

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If you are interested in finding out how the recent amendments to Sections 504 and 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act affect your case, give us a call at (630) 261-9098 or send us a message. We understand how tough these situations can be and our #1 priority is to provide you with the sound legal advice you need to make the right decisions and keep moving forward in life.