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Spousal Maintenance in Illinois

By Nottage and Ward on August 30, 2019

Spousal maintenance (called alimony or spousal support in other states) is the payment of money from one spouse to another after a divorce. Its purpose is to help prevent financial and social hardship and disruption for the spouse who was financially dependent on the other spouse. There have been recent, significant changes to Illinois spousal maintenance laws.

Before 2019, spousal maintenance payments were deductible for the payor and taxable income for the recipient. Now, for orders entered January 1, 2019, and beyond, maintenance payments are no longer deductible for the payor and no longer taxable for the recipient. This has led to significant changes for divorcing business owners, physicians, lawyers, and other high-income professionals, including same-sex couples.

Spousal Maintenance Calculations

Before the recent changes in spousal maintenance law, judges had a great deal of authority concerning spousal maintenance. Guideline maintenance was calculated at 30% of the payor’s gross annual income minus 20% of the recipient’s gross annual income. Now, judges are required to follow a formula in determining maintenance awards. For maintenance orders entered in January 2019 and beyond, the payment is calculated by subtracting 25% of the recipient’s net income from 33.33% of the payor’s net income.

What Are the Grounds for Modifying or Terminating Maintenance in Illinois?

To secure modification of a spousal maintenance order or termination of payments, the person seeking the change must file a motion with the court that issued the order. The payor must continue making payments in the same amount until the judge grants the motion to terminate or modify the payments. Under Illinois 750 ILCS 5/510, grounds for termination include:

  • Death of either party,
  • The remarriage of the payee, or
  • Cohabitation of the payee.

Maintenance may also be terminated or modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the maintenance order.

Why You Need a Family Law Attorney

If you are seeking modification or termination of spousal maintenance in Chicago, contact Nottage and Ward, LLP, at (312) 332-2915. Our firm was founded in 1988, and our Chicago family law attorneys have more than 25 years of experience handling these cases. We can file a motion with the court requesting your desired modification, and follow through to get you the best outcome possible in the situation.

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