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New Maintenance Guidelines in Illinois

Posted on in BGL Law

Illinois spousal maintenance guidelines, Crystal Lake divorce lawyerOn August 15th, the Governor signed into law a new set of guidelines for determining how much spousal support, also known as maintenance, spouses would owe as a result of a divorce. The guidelines seek to solve a problem that plagued the old system: spousal support obligations were often very difficult to predict going into a divorce.

The judge would have to set the support amount by examining a set of twelve factors including things like the married couple's standard of living, the duration of the marriage, and the earning capacity of each party. The new law maintains these factors as things judges should look to when determining support, but it introduced more strict mathematical guidelines to determine how much support should be paid and for how long the spouse will pay support.

Calculating Support Amount

The new law gives judges a more formulaic set of instructions for calculating support amounts. The judge now calculates support by looking at the supporting spouse's income and taking 30 percent of it. Then the judge subtracts 20 percent of the supported spouse's income from that 30 percent and that number is the support amount. To show an example, suppose a husband makes $50,000 per year and a wife makes $25,000 per year. The support obligation would be 30 percent of $50,000, which is $15,000, minus 20 percent of $25,000, which is $5,000. That would make the annual support obligation $10,000 per year from the husband to the wife.

The law contains two exceptions to this rule. First, this set of guidelines is only in use for couples earning less than $250,000 a year collectively. Second, the total support produced by this formula may not exceed 40 percent of the combined income.

Determining Support Length

The law also includes a new method of deciding how long the supporting spouse will have to provide support for. The law bases this on the length of the marriage, combined with a special support factor reproduced in the table below:

Marriage Length Support Factor
0 to 5 years 0.2
5 to 10 years 0.4
10 to 15 years 0.6
15 to 20 years 0.8
Over 20 years 1.0 or Permanent Support

The law requires judges to calculate the support length by multiplying the length of the marriage by its corresponding support factor. For instance, a marriage that lasted 16 years would have a support term of 16*0.8 years, which would be 12.8 years. Of course, both the support length and the above support amount calculations are merely guidelines for judges. The law still equips them with the authority to deviate from the calculations if they can show a good reason for doing so.

If you are looking to file for divorce, contact a skilled Crystal Lake family law attorney today. The experienced team at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC can help guide you through the process, and give you a better understanding of all your options.

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