New Spousal Support Calculations in Illinois
Until recently, the calculation of spousal support in Illinois was based on a judge's discretion after the consideration of several factors found in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the law). There was previously no set formula to calculate how much money the court had to award, if any, in spousal support. The factors assisted judges in determining spousal support by taking into account, for example, the income and property available to each spouse, future income, standard of living during marriage, and the length of the marriage.
The new revisions to the law, which take effect in January 2015, provide a formula for determining the amount of support based on a percentage of the spouses' income. These changes mainly apply to couples with a combined gross income of less than $250,000 and without a multiple family situation. There is also a formula for determining the length of time spousal support will be paid. While the factors the judges previously relied on to determine the amount of support to award, are still relevant, they are no longer the sole basis for the award of a certain amount in support. The factors will be used to mainly determine if spousal support or maintenance is appropriate in a certain case. However, because use of the formula is not mandatory, a judge may still use the factors to determine the amount of support. If a judge decides to not use the set formula, and rely mainly on the factors, he or she has to give a detailed reasoning for doing so.
Formula for Determining the Amount of Support
When applied, the new formula would set the amount of spousal support by subtracting 20% of the receiving spouse's gross income from 30% of the paying spouse's gross income. However, the total amount of the award when added to the receiving spouse's gross income cannot exceed 40% combined gross income of the parties.
This formula is supposed to provide clarity and uniformity in spousal support orders for divorcing couples. If you are not sure how much spousal support you might pay or receive under this new formula, you can consult a family law attorney for a consultation.
Formula for Determining the Duration of Support
The second formula provided calculates the duration of the support payments by multiplying the duration of the marriage with a corresponding number as follows:
• 0-5 years multiplied by (.20);
• 5-10 years multiplied by (.40);
• 10-15 years multiplied by (.60); and
• 15-20 years multiplied by (.80).
Under this formula, the longer the couple was married the more likely it is that one spouse will be ordered to pay support for a longer period of time. In a marriage that lasted 20 years or more, the length of time for support payments could equal the length of the marriage.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney
If you are getting divorced and would like to know how these new changes might impact spousal support as it relates to you, contact one of our divorce attorneys for help. The experienced attorneys at MKFM Law can assess the facts of your case and advise you as to how the changes may impact you.