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How does spousal support work in Illinois?

Illinois changed its spousal support laws in 2019. Spousal support isn’t a given. Whether one partner receives financial assistance often depends on whether they need it to transition back into the workforce.

Spousal support calculation

It’s easy to estimate how much you may have to pay in spousal support in Illinois. Take 35% of the payer’s net income and subtract 25% of the recipient’s net income. This gives you the yearly amount you are likely to pay. However, the amount that the recipient receives can’t exceed 40% of the combined net income between the payer and recipient.

How long spousal support lasts

The length of time you must pay spousal support mostly depends on the length of marriage. Illinois has a chart to help determine how long alimony will last based on the length of the marriage. Marriages less than five years have a time period of 20% of the marriage length. For marriages that lasted 20 years or longer, the judge could make alimony last for the length of the marriage or permanently.

Types of alimony

An order of permanent alimony is rare. Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has made it only possible for marriages of 20 years or longer to qualify. Temporary alimony is for providing financial support while a divorce is pending. The recipient can use the money to cover their living costs while they work on finding a job or getting the skills they need for a job. Fixed-term spousal support lasts for a specific period. Reviewable alimony isn’t set for a specific period. The recipient must periodically undergo a court review to determine whether spousal support will continue. They need to make a good faith effort to become self-supporting.

Illinois strives to be fair with all decisions it makes for divorcing couples. Spousal support is usually a temporary situation to help the recipient develop the necessary skills for a similar standard of living after the divorce.

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