Spousal Maintenance Attorney Palatine, IL

When a married couple decides to end their marriage, it is not uncommon for one of the parties in the marriage to have questions about how they will support themselves, particularly if they do not have any employable skills or have been out of the workforce for many years, committing themselves to homemaking or parenting instead. When this is the case, the financially dependent spouse may seek spousal maintenance from the financially independent spouse. Known more commonly as alimony, this arrangement can help the dependent spouse maintain their quality of life after a divorce. The family law attorney at The Law Offices of Jenet G. Pequeno, LLC can answer any legal questions that you may have about spousal maintenance.

Who Gets Spousal Maintenance?

750 ILCS 5/504 reads that the court may grant a maintenance award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems to be just. Some factors that the court may consider in making their determination regarding whether or not a maintenance amount is appropriate (and not the amount of maintenance), also outlined by the law, include:

  • The income and property of each party to the marriage;
  • The financial needs of each party;
  • The earning capacities of each party;
  • Any hindrance to earning capacity based on devotion to domestic duties;
  • The time it would take to acquire education or training necessary for gainful employment;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The age and health of each party;
  • The tax consequences of a maintenance decision; and
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant.

The court may not consider any actions of marital misconduct, i.e. a court cannot order a husband or wife an award of alimony because their spouse was adulterous. Such a situation could only be spelled out in a pre-nuptial agreement made between the parties punishing such bad behavior.

Determining a Maintenance Amount

Once a court determines whether or not maintenance is appropriate, they must further determine how much the maintenance amount should be. Illinois law states that the amount of maintenance shall be calculated by subtracting 20 percent of a payee’s gross income from 30 percent of a payor’s gross income. However, the total amount may not exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined gross income. For example:

Party A (payor) makes $100,000 – 30 percent of that is $30,000. Party B (payee/recipient) makes $15,000 – 20 percent of that is $3,000. $30,000 – $3,000 = $27,000. Party A and Party B make a combined $115,000 – 40 percent of that is $46,000. Party B’s income and maintenance will be capped at $46,000 because of the statutory cap. So let’s take $15,000 + $27,000 = $42,000 < $46,000. Therefore, Party A will have to pay Party B $27,000 because this is less than 40 percent of $115,000 (combined income of both parties.) The court is also open to hearing arguments for deviating from these guidelines. These statutory guidelines only apply to couples who make a combined gross income of less than $500,000 annually.

Since January 1, 2018, the maintenance that is to be paid has changed from how long one can be expected to receive maintenance. The new law still uses the length of the marriage as a guideline, but no longer has large increases of maintenance once you hit the 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th year of marriage. The old law would attach specific percentages of time of the length of the marriage to these milestone years of marriage. Now, the court gives a much more incremental increase in time that maintenance will be ordered. As before, maintenance terminates at death and the continuing cohabitation on a conjugal basis as stated in the statute.

How The Law Offices of Jenet G. Pequeno, LLC Can Help

Understanding whether or not you are eligible for a spousal maintenance award, or how much you may have to pay as a financially independent spouse, can be complicated. At The Law Offices of Jenet G. Pequeno, LLC we will advocate for your rights to improve your chances of receiving a court maintenance order that is fair and just. To learn more or schedule a consultation with Jenet G. Pequeno today, call (847) 616-0980 today.