Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

How Does Alimony Work in Illinois?

 Posted on April 14, 2022 in Divorce

Kane County alimony lawyerDivorce can have a massive financial impact on spouses. Lesser-earning spouses may find themselves struggling to pay their bills without their spouse’s financial support. Higher-earning spouses may be required to pay child support or spousal support.

Whatever your situation, it is important to understand your financial rights and responsibilities in an Illinois divorce case. Alimony, called spousal support or spousal maintenance in Illinois, may be significant and it is important to be prepared.  

Who Can Get Spousal Support?

If you are getting divorced, you should know what to expect when it comes to spousal maintenance. In Illinois, spouses may be able to get spousal maintenance through a negotiated agreement between the spouses or a prenuptial agreement. Alternatively, the spouse seeking support may file a petition for spousal maintenance through the court.

Courts make spousal maintenance decisions on a case-by-case basis. The court will evaluate each spouse’s financial situation, the length of the marriage, the spouses’ financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage, and other factors to decide if maintenance payments are appropriate. Both men and women may receive spousal maintenance – the law makes no distinction.

How Much Are Payments?

Most of the time, courts use a statutory formula to determine the dollar amount of maintenance payments. One-quarter of the recipient’s annual net income is subtracted from one-third of the payer’s annual net income to find the amount of annual maintenance to be paid. This is usually split into 12 monthly payments. Spousal maintenance payments may not exceed 40 percent of the spouses’ combined net income.

How Long Does a Spouse Receive Maintenance?

The duration of spousal maintenance payments is typically based on the length of the marriage. The greater the duration of the marriage, the longer the recipient is entitled to maintenance payments. Alimony always terminates if the spouse receiving payments gets remarried or if either spouse passes away. If the recipient of maintenance payments starts cohabitating with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the paying spouse may ask the court to cease his or her maintenance obligation.

Can Spousal Support Be Modified?

Sometimes, circumstances change, and the amount of maintenance is no longer appropriate. If either party experiences a substantial change in financial circumstances, the court may modify spousal maintenance. For example, if the recipient spouse gets a new job in which he or she earns substantially more, the court may reduce or terminate the paying spouse’s maintenance obligation.




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