In Illinois, 2019 brings changes to the system for payments of alimony, spousal maintenance, or spousal support. Here’s a summary of what to expect if you are contemplating divorce or legal separation. If you have further questions, contact us today.
Is Alimony Appropriate?
The Court will consider various factors before determining that an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate for your circumstances, including, but not limited to:
- All sources of income for each party;
- Each party’s property (regardless of whether it was acquired before or during the marriage);
- A party’s needs;
- A party’s earning capacity;
- A party’s ability to acquire necessary training or education to re-enter the workforce or gain new skills; and
- A party’s parenting responsibilities.
If the combined gross annual income of the parties is less than $500,000, and the payor has no obligation to pay child support, maintenance, or both from a prior judgment, the Court can use the maintenance guidelines described below.
The Court will state whether the maintenance is fixed-term, indefinite, reviewable, or reserved (i.e. no maintenance will be paid immediately, but there may be a need for maintenance in the future).
Amount of Alimony
Beginning on January 1, 2019, the amount of maintenance will be calculated by taking 33-1/3% of the payor’s net annual income and deducting 25% of the payee’s net annual income. However, the amount awarded to the payee must be less than 40% of the combined net income of the parties.
Duration of Alimony
The maintenance term will be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage (as of the date the action was filed) by the applicable percentages below:
|Duration of Marriage||Percentage||Maintenance Term|
|Less than 5 years||20%||0.8 years or less|
|5 years or more but less than 6||24%||1.2 years|
|6 years or more but less than 7||8%||1.68 years|
|7 years or more but less than 8||32%||2.24 years|
|8 years or more but less than 9||36%||2.88 years|
|9 years or more but less than 10||40%||3.6 years|
|10 years or more but less than 11||44%||4.4 years|
|11 years or more but less than 12||48%||5.28 years|
|12 years or more but less than 13||52%||6.24 years|
|13 years or more but less than 14||56%||7.28 years|
|14 years or more but less than 15||60%||8.4 years|
|15 years or more but less than 16||64%||9.6 years|
|16 years or more but less than 17||68%||10.88 years|
|17 years or more but less than 18||72%||12.24 years|
|18 years or more but less than 19||76%||13.68 years|
|19 years or more but less than 20||80%||15.2 years|
|20 or more years||Length of the marriage, or for an indefinite term, in the Court’s discretion.|
Alimony Calculation Example
Let’s now consider how the new guidelines will work. If a couple has been married for 14 years, and their net income is $220,000.00 (Spouse A earns $200,000.00, and Spouse B earns $20,000.00), the terms of 750 ILCS 5/504 (b-1)(1) will apply.
When we apply the guideline maintenance formula under subparagraph 504 (b-1)(1)(A) of the new statute, the result will be as follows:
|Payor’s annual net income:||$200,000.00|
|33-1/3% of payor’s net income:||$66,666.66|
|Payee’s annual net income:||$20,000.00|
|25% of payee’s net income:||$5,000.00|
|Annual Maintenance:||$66,666.66 – $5,000 = 61,666.66|
|Combined net income of parties:||$200,000.00 + $20,000.00 = $220,000.00|
|40% of combined net income:||$88,000.00|
|Annual Maintenance + payee’s net income||$81,666.66|
Maintenance and payee’s net income is less than 40% of the parties’ combined net incomes. Therefore, under the new statute, annual maintenance payments of $66,666.66 would apply.
Calculating the length of maintenance to Spouse B, we will apply the multipliers described in subparagraph 504 (b-1)(1)(B) of the statute. A marriage of 14 years or more, but less than 15 years, has a multiplier of .6. A marriage of 14 years will result in maintenance for 14 x .6 years, or 8.4 years.
Modification of Maintenance Orders Entered Before 1/1/19
If maintenance was ordered before January 1, 2019, and there is a need for a subsequent modification after January 1, 2019, the modified maintenance will continue to be calculated based on gross income for federal tax purposes, unless both parties expressly agree otherwise, and that agreement is included in the modification order.
For couples divorcing after January 1, 2019, the payor cannot deduct maintenance payments from gross income on his or her federal income taxes. Similarly, the payee will not include his or her maintenance payments in taxable income on his or her federal income tax returns. If you would like more details on divorce and taxes, take a moment to consult our comprehensive guide.
If you have any questions about these new laws and how they may affect your divorce proceedings or any modifications of existing maintenance awards, contact our attorneys at 708-763-0999.
Current Illinois Maintenance Statute: