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Important alimony laws to know in Illinois

It’s a common misconception that the higher-earning spouse has to pay alimony to the other in a divorce. In some situations, this is true, but if both spouses have jobs and won’t struggle financially, then the judge might not see alimony as necessary.

Factors considered

Judges must consider a long list of factors when making a decision on alimony. They look at the income and assets of each person as well as their future earning capacity. A person’s age and health may impact these areas. If one spouse needs job training or education to enter the workforce, then the judge is likely to determine they should receive alimony long enough for them to get a job. The goal is to make a decision that’s just and equitable.

Length of marriage

In Illinois, the length of the marriage influences how much spousal support one spouse receives and for how long. Marriages that lasted 20 years or longer might result in permanent alimony. Alternatively, alimony may last the length of the marriage if the marriage lasted at least 20 years. In shorter marriages, the judge calculates the duration of alimony by multiplying the length of the marriage by a certain decimal based on what applies to the situation.

Combined gross income

When the combined gross income of the couple is below $250,000, the amount of spousal support could be 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the other spouse’s gross income. Illinois doesn’t allow payments to be more than 40% of the couple’s combined gross income. These guidelines are also without any current child support or alimony involved.

Judges in Illinois have many factors to consider before making a decision on spousal support. However, this kind of decision isn’t based on which party is “at fault” for the divorce.