After divorce, one or both spouses may experience financial struggles. After all, maintaining two households costs much more than maintaining a single household.

If you are unsure how you will support yourself after divorce, explore the laws that pertain to spousal support in Illinois.

Amount of spousal support

Illinois law refers to spousal support or alimony with the term spousal maintenance. The law also establishes a formula for calculating spousal support that took effect for divorces in 2019 and beyond. The higher-earning spouse must make an annual payment of a third of his or her net income minus a quarter of the lower-earning spouse’s net income.

For example, if you earn $30,000 per year and your spouse earns $150,000 per year, you would be eligible for Illinois spousal support. The court would take 33.33% of $150,000 to get $50,000 per year, minus 25% of your $30,000 income ($7,500), for a total annual maintenance payment of $42,500.

If you receive spousal maintenance in Illinois, it does not constitute taxable income. If you pay maintenance, you cannot deduct these payments from your income tax.

Duration of spousal support

Illinois law does not provide for permanent spousal maintenance. Instead, the judge multiplies the number of years married by a number called the statutory factor to arrive at the duration of spousal support.

Returning to the example above, if the marriage lasted 10 years, the legal statutory factor is 0.44. The court would limit support to 10 times 0.44, or 4.4 years. The longer the marriage, the higher the statutory factor and the longer the duration of spousal support.

You can request spousal maintenance in your divorce petition or in your response to your spouse’s divorce petition. The court will review the income and assets of both parties to make a spousal maintenance determination. The behavior of either spouse during the marriage does not influence the judge’s decision about support.