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How do judges figure amount and duration of spousal maintenance?

We previously began looking at the issue of spousal maintenance or support, specifically how Illinois courts determine whether a spouse is entitled to maintenance.  Picking up where we left off last time, if a judge determines it is just to award maintenance to a spouse, the amount and duration of the award needs to be determined.

Illinois state law provides specific guidelines regarding the amount and duration of spousal maintenance. The calculations are based on the gross income of the parties separately and together, and the length of the marriage. 

In any case, under the guidelines, a spouse is not permitted to receive more than 40 percent of the combined gross income of the parties. With regard to duration, state law specifies a greater duration the longer the marriage lasted, and allows judges to order either permanent maintenance or maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage when the marriage lasted 20 years or more.

The law also gives judges the discretion to award maintenance not in accordance with the guidelines as well. In such situations, judges are directed to consider the same set of factors weighed in determining eligibility for spousal maintenance.

Getting spousal maintenance calculations correct is important to ensure a party receives what he or she is due under the law. In pursuing spousal maintenance and dealing with property division and other financial matters related to divorce, it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can help ensure that a spouse has the best possible advocacy throughout the process. 

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