Changes to Illinois spousal maintenance and its effect

Nov 7, 2017 | Maintenance (Alimony)

After a divorce, it takes some time for individuals to get used to being single again. For those who are dependent on the income of their ex-spouse, spousal maintenance may be essential.

Whether you are looking to receive or may have to pay spousal support, it is important to stay abreast of the laws that regulate this award. Recent changes to the law alter the calculation of the duration of the payment, amongst other factors, which may have strong effects on your case.

The law

Earlier this year, the Illinois General Assembly passed the House bill containing the new stipulations. The state will incorporate the changes into the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Though some stipulations may remain the same, the new law will enact some critical changes.


The new revisions will raise the threshold amount for the application of statutory guidelines in determining maintenance amounts. It will rise from a combined household income of $250,000 to $500,000. Another important change is to how the courts will calculate the payment duration. The means by which the courts make the calculations will remain the same; the courts will still determine the duration utilizing a percentage according to the length of the marriage. However, the parameters to determine the percentage will change. Where the law currently determines the percentage in five-year increments, the new law will measure in one-year increments after five years. Both methods have a calculation range from 0.20-0.80, and they stop at 20 years. For marriages of 20 years or more, the court may award maintenance for 20 years or permanent maintenance, which is “maintenance for an indefinite term” in the new law.

The result

The new law will bring more higher-income families under the statutory guidelines and may result in shorter maintenance payment terms for parties that fall in between the five-year increments.

This is a short overview of the law. If you are considering a divorce, take some time to review the law and seek counsel so you can fully understand how it may affect you.