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In Illinois, spousal maintenance may be awarded during divorce proceedings to a spouse either by agreement or by court order. The amount and duration of the payments is decided by the court based on the application of a number of guidelines and factors. Spousal maintenance awards can have a significant financial impact on all parties, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions or concerns about spousal support, it is important to obtain the advice of an experienced spousal maintenance attorney who can help explain your legal options.


Determining Duration

If a court determines that a spousal maintenance award is appropriate, it will decide the duration of the payments based on one of two sets of guidelines. When a court orders maintenance based on the specific formula provided by law, a couple’s combined gross income is less than $500,000, and the spouse paying maintenance does not have an obligation to pay child support from a prior relationship, the duration of the award will be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies:

Marriages of five years or less will be multiplied by 20% of the length of the marriage. Any marriage lasting more than five years but less than twenty (20) years will be rising by 4% of the length of the marriage each year. For instance, a 17-year marriage will have a statutory maintenance length be multiplied by 72% of the length of the marriage which result in  a maintenance obligation for over 12 and one half years.

  • The duration of spousal maintenance for marriages of 20 years or more will either be awarded on a term equal to the length of the marriage or simply labelled maintenance for an indefinite term. or for a period of time equal to the length of the marriage. When a judge awards maintenance based on a different calculation than that required under the recommended guidelines, he or she is permitted to use discretion in determining the duration of the payments, but must also take into consideration the same factors utilized in deciding whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, including:
  • Each party’s income and needs;
  • Each party’s present and future earning capacity;
  • Whether one spouse’s earning capacity is impaired because he or she devoted time to domestic responsibilities or contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, or career;
  • The amount of time it would take to enable the party requesting maintenance to acquire enough education and training to support him or herself;
  • The marriage’s duration; and
  • The age and physical and emotional condition of both parties.

Finally, courts are specifically directed not to take into consideration any marital misconduct by either party when making their determinations.


Maintenance Review

Courts are given discretion to review previously ordered maintenance awards and during such reviews have a number of options, including:

  • Extending maintenance for further review;
  • Extending spousal support for a fixed non-modifiable term;
  • Extending maintenance for an indefinite term; or
  • Permanently terminating spousal support.


How an Experienced Palatine Spousal Maintenance Attorney Can Help

Determining how a party will support him or herself after a divorce can be stressful and emotionally exhausting. Seeking the advice of an attorney can make all the difference in giving you peace of mind and ensuring that your interests will be protected. If you live in the Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg or Barrington areas and are considering a divorce, please contact The Law Offices of Jenet G. Pequeno, LLC by calling (847) 616-0980 to schedule a consultation with an experienced spousal maintenance attorney.


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