As if many divorce settlements were not complicated enough, the state has put together a maintenance formula, which is explained in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Basically, the act contains guidelines for establishing the amount and duration of a maintenance award, if the court considers this kind of payment to be appropriate.
The court calculates the award by considering a dozen factors and predicate it on the duration of the marriage. However, sorting out all the information could make your eyes cross, which is why you should engage the services of a family law attorney.
Approving a maintenance award
The court will determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate based on several factors, such as needs, the established standard of living, and the income and property of each spouse. The judge will consider, among other factors, the age and health of each party, sources of income and employability. A key consideration will be the length of the marriage, as this will figure into the maintenance formula.
Doing the math
If the court finds justification for a maintenance award, one party receives payment from the other party’s income or property. The court figures the amount by taking 30 percent of the paying party's gross income less 20 percent of the receiving party's gross income. However, the amount cannot be more than 40 percent of the gross income of both parties combined. There is a much more involved formula for deciding how long maintenance should continue. The court calculates the duration of the award using the length of the marriage times a certain percentage. For example, you would multiply a length of zero to five years by 20 percent, or 15 to 20 years by 80 percent.
Seeking legal help
Rather than tearing your hair out over the maintenance formula, reach out for legal assistance. An attorney experienced with divorce and family law is always up to date on changing Illinois statutes and can help you conclude your divorce successfully so you can move on with your life.