How Much Spousal Maintenance Am I Entitled to Receive?

How Much Spousal Maintenance Am I Entitled to Receive?

By: M. Scott Gordon

If you are planning to get divorced and earned substantially less than your spouse during the marriage, you probably have questions about spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—is calculated based on a formula for most people getting divorced in Chicago. However, if you are wondering how much alimony you are entitled to receive, it is important to understand that the answer to that question depends on several different factors. We will explain how various issues can impact the amount of alimony you may receive under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

Are You Entitled to Receive Alimony at All?

Before an Illinois court ever reaches the question of how much spousal maintenance you might be entitled to receive, the first question it asks is whether you are entitled to receive maintenance at all. In determining whether a spousal maintenance award is appropriate, the court looks at the following statutory factors cited in the IMDMA, among others:

  • Income and property of each party;
  • Needs of each party;
  • Realistic earning capacity of each of the spouses;
  • Effect of any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on a party’s ability to seek or maintain employment;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • All sources of public and private income;
  • Tax consequences to each party; and
  • Other factors determined by the court.

The court does not have to weigh these factors in any specific way. Instead, they can be weighed according to the specific facts of the case.

Do You and Your Spouse Earn Less Than $500,000 Collectively?

The next question regarding the amount of alimony you could receive concerns income. Do you and your spouse collectively earn less than $500,000 per year? If the answer is yes, then the amount of alimony you may be entitled to receive will be based on a formula (unless the court has good reason not to use the formula). Otherwise, the court does not need to use the formula for calculating maintenance and it can be more difficult to predict the amount.

How Long Were You Married?

The final question in determining the amount of spousal maintenance you may be able to expect depends upon the duration of your marriage. The total length of the spousal maintenance award is determined by using a formula based on the number of years married. For example, spouses married for less than five years will have the length of the maintenance award multiplied by 0.20. That number goes up slightly for each additional year married beyond five years. If you were married for 20 years or more, the court can use its discretion to award alimony for the same length as the marriage or even permanently.

Contact a Chicago Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

Do you want to learn more about how much alimony you may be able to receive? A Chicago spousal maintenance attorney can help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to discuss your situation with a family law advocate.