So many clients ask us about how spousal support is calculated. Many of them are afraid of not getting enough. Others are afraid of paying too much or too long.
One of the scariest and most difficult things to face in divorce is the splitting of money. No matter how much or how little, divorce means whatever the amount of money that exists, it is going to go less far.
In Illinois, only people who were married and getting divorced are entitled to spousal support. This type of support is now called maintenance, but it used to be called alimony. Illinois does not recognize cohabitation as a basis for any sort of maintenance or spousal support. In other words, our state does not recognize common law marriage.
Spousal support consists of 2 main components – 1 ) duration and 2) amount.
As for duration, the law provides a formula for the number of months spousal support will be paid based on the number of months of marriage. The law changed not too long ago to exclude from the number of months of marriage the time spent in divorce court. It is important that, if you are sure you are going to be getting a divorce that you plan for that exclusion of time.
As for the amount of spousal support, again there is a formula provided by Illinois law that takes into account both spouses’ incomes, essentially providing for the subtraction of 25% of the receiver’s net income from 33 1/3% of the payor’s net income. In addition, there is a cap at certain dollar amounts.
While these components can be found in Illinois written law on divorce, what many don’t know is that arguments can be made for deviations. To illustrate, a payor might be able to successfully argue that the recipient spousal does not need support. Another argument the paying spouse might make is that recipient spouse would enjoy a standard of living in excess of the standard of living during most of the marriage.
A receiving spouse similarly can argue for spousal support to be granted above guidelines. If there is illness, special circumstances, age differences, or other circumstances that may weigh on a judge’s decisions, all of those aspects should be presented.
We believe that our clients deserve more than just book-fed law. We will get to know you and make sure you receive a strategy built on your life’s situation. You deserve to have the equities of your situation presented.