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Spousal Support Basics: Factors, Calculations, and More


Spousal support is one of the most common issues in any divorce. While many assume that spousal support is always awarded in divorce, this isn’t the case. However, it is awarded in many cases.

In Illinois, spousal support is awarded based on a number of specific factors and a formula that determines both the amount and duration of the support. Below, we describe both in greater detail so you know what to expect as part of your divorce.

Factors the Court Will Consider in Allocating Maintenance

The court will consider a number of factors in determining whether a spouse should be awarded maintenance as part of a divorce. Remember, maintenance may be awarded on either a temporary or permanent basis.

The criteria set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Of Marriage Act include:

  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
  • The income, marital property, and non-marital property of each party;
  • The financial obligations of each party;
  • The age and physical, mental, and emotional health of each party;
  • The earning capacity (both present and future) of each party;
  • The time necessary for a spouse to obtain the necessary education, training, or other skills for gainful employment; and
  • Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

The court will weigh the facts of each case in determining which factors are most relevant. This means no two cases are the same.

Calculating the Amount and Duration of Spousal Support 

Just like the court’s consideration of all the factors will differ from case to case, so will their determination of the amount and duration of support. In many short-term marriages, a spouse will be awarded temporary maintenance. This means that it will only be provided for a set period of time. In longer term marriages, typically those 20 years or longer, spouses will typically receive permanent maintenance. However, this isn’t always the case.

The formula is the same in all cases to calculate the monthly maintenance payments. The formula calculates the payments by subtracting 20 percent of the receiving spouse’s gross income from 30 percent of the spouse’s gross income that will be paying maintenance. By dividing this number by 12, you can find out what you will receive or be paying monthly.

As is the case with most issues in your divorce case, this formula isn’t always strictly followed. Most deviations occur in high net worth divorces where the formula will award too much support to the receiving spouse. The judge will determine the appropriate amount of spousal support in these cases if your attorney and your spouse’s attorney can’t settle the issue.

Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. to Learn More About Spousal Support and How it Will Work in Your Case

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we rely on our over 35 years of experience in divorce and family law to ensure you receive a fair settlement on spousal support in your case.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the issue will work in your case or would like to discuss the relevant facts of your case with Larry, take advantage of your free consultation by contacting us at 630-470-9990 or filling in our simple online form. We look forward to speaking with you.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.