Reeder & Brown, P.C.



Will County Spousal Maintenance Attorneys

Despite changing social norms, it is not uncommon in today's world for one spouse to stay at home to raise a couple's children and to take care of the house while the other spouse is the primary wage earner. If one spouse makes enough money, the other spouse may not need to work at all or may only work part-time. When such a couple divorces, however, the situation can quickly become complicated, especially for the lower-earning spouse.

At Reeder & Brown, P.C., our skilled family lawyers can assist you in exploring options that could mitigate the financial effects of your divorce, including spousal support or alimony. With more than 30 years of combined legal experience, we will help ensure that you have the resources you need to begin building a happier, healthier future.

Calculating Maintenance in Illinois

Divorcing spouses have the option to negotiate an agreement regarding the payment of maintenance after their divorce. This can be done prior to the marriage in a prenuptial agreement or as part of the divorce proceedings. If there is no agreement in place, it will be up to the court to determine if spousal support is appropriate for the individual case in question. The court must consider a number of factors regarding the couple's marriage and divorce and will only order maintenance if doing so is necessary to facilitate an equitable outcome.

If the court finds that maintenance is appropriate, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/504) provides a formula for calculating the amount to be paid and the period for which the payments will continue. This formula applies to most cases where the spouses' combined gross annual income is less than $500,000 and the higher-earning spouse has no previous responsibilities for maintenance or child support.

When the formula is used, maintenance is calculated by taking one-third (33.3 percent) of the higher-earning spouse's net annual income and subtracting one-fourth (25 percent) of the lower-earning spouse's net income. (Net income is defined as the person's gross income minus standardized or otherwise allowable tax deductions.) The resulting amount plus the lower-earning spouse's income may not exceed 40 percent of the couple's combined income. The duration of the award is calculated as a weighted percentage of the length of the marriage, with longer marriages leading to relatively longer periods of maintenance.

An Illustrative Example

Consider a 10-year marriage in which the husband earns $150,000 per year in net income and his wife earns $28,000. Based on these numbers alone, it seems that maintenance would probably be appropriate, although other factors may be considered, such as the needs of each party, the marital property they will receive, and their respective contributions to the marriage.

If the court decides that spousal maintenance will be paid, it will use the following method to calculate the amount of the payments: The court would take one-third of the husband's income ($50,000) and subtract one-fourth of the wife's income ($7,000). The result would be $43,000. When that amount is added to the wife's income, the total would be $71,000 or just under 40 percent of the couple's combined income. Therefore, the husband would be ordered to pay $43,000 per year or $3,583.33 per month in maintenance.

For a marriage of 10 years, the law provides a percentage factor of .44, which is multiplied by 10 years to give 4.4 years or about 53 months.

Deviations and Exceptions

In situations where the spouses' combined income is $500,000 or greater or where the higher-earning spouse has prior maintenance or child support obligations, the use of the statutory formula is not required. The court may also deviate from the formula if the guideline maintenance obligation plus the paying party's child support obligation exceeds 50 percent of his or her net income. When the standard guidelines are not used, it is up to the court to determine an amount of maintenance based on a full consideration of all of the applicable factors of the case, and the reasons for deviation from the guidelines must be noted.

At the firm of Reeder & Brown, P.C., our attorneys have helped many clients resolve challenging disputes related to spousal support and other related matters. We understand how hard it can be for a financially disadvantaged spouse to move forward after a divorce, and we are ready to help you get the support you need. Our lawyers also represent higher-earning spouses in maintenance proceedings as well. We will work hard to ensure that your rights will be protected throughout the divorce process while advocating for your best interests at all times.

Contact Our Will County Spousal Maintenance Lawyers

If you are facing a divorce, and maintenance is likely to be a concern, contact our office. Call 815-885-5980 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Reeder & Brown, P.C. today. Our lawyers serve clients in Joliet, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Naperville, Lockport, New Lenox, Mokena, Crest Hill, Homer Glen, Aurora, Will County, and throughout the surrounding areas.

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