Maintenance Obligations

In 2014, the Illinois legislature amended the state’s approach to spousal support matters, replacing the court’s broad discretionary powers with statutory guidelines. Taking effect in January of 2015, the amended law provided a formulaic standard for calculating the amount and length of a support award once the court has deemed spousal support necessary.

To determine the necessity of spousal maintenance, the court must consider a number of factors set forth by law, including:

  • The needs, income, property, and earning capacity of each spouse
  • The effect of the marriage on the earning capacity of the spouse seeking support
  • The ability and time needed for the spouse seeking support to become self-sufficient, if deemed possible
  • The length of the marriage, and the lifestyle it established
  • The tax consequences of the property division inherent to the divorce
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The contributions made by the spouse seeking support to the other spouse’s career and earning capacity
  • Any valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement
  • Any other consideration the court finds just and equitable

The amount and length of spousal support award are determined based on guidelines found in Illinois law, specifically:


The recommended support amount equals 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income. The award plus the payee’s income is not permitted to exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined income.


The statutorily recommended duration of the award is equal to the length of the marriage multiplied by the appropriate percentage factor in the law. The percentage factors provide longer support awards for longer marriages, and the court may order permanent maintenance for marriages lasting 20 years or more.

There are different tax considerations based on the role each party plays in a maintenance determination. For the payor, such benefits are eligible for a deduction, while the payee will be taxed on the income.

If you have questions about your spousal support case or are interested in pursuing spousal support in your divorce, experienced help is available. Call now for a free consultation. 708-246-7277



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Mark Becker Family Law

DuPage Divorce Lawyer

1105 West Burlington Avenue
Western Springs, Illinois 60558
Phone: 708-246-7277
Email: Mark Becker Family Law

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