Like with many couples, there may be a disparity between you and your spouse’s incomes. Whether this difference is major or minor, it could affect the terms of your settlement if you two are divorcing. This is because whichever of you has a higher income may have to provide the other with maintenance. To understand maintenance’s potential impact on your finances, whether you will pay or receive it, you must understand how it is approached in Illinois.
Factors that affect maintenance in Illinois
You and your spouse have the option to work out your own maintenance agreement, though the court must approve it. It is possible, though, that you two are unable or unwilling to do so. In this case, the court will work it out for you, and it will weigh numerous factors when doing so. These factors will relate to your marital circumstances, as well as your individual abilities to maintain your marital lifestyle after your divorce.
Some of the factors the court may consider when awarding maintenance include:
- The length of your marriage and the lifestyle you maintained during it
- The tax consequences of maintenance on you and your spouse
- How much time you or your spouse will need to find a job or acquire education or training to become self-supporting
- Your and your spouse’s age
- Your and your spouse’s current and future earning capacities
- Your and your spouse’s income and property, both marital and non-marital
- Your and your spouse’s physical and emotional health
The value and duration of maintenance in Illinois
So long as you and your spouse have a household income of under $500,000, the yearly value of your maintenance award will be the difference between one-third the net income of the payor – whether you or your spouse – and one-quarter the net income of the recipient. Yet, if this figure, when added to the recipient’s net income, is greater than 40% of your combined net income, the value of your award will reduce. The duration of your award will depend on the length of your marriage, and Illinois uses a table to lay out this exact relationship.
Working out maintenance can be difficult, especially if you and your spouse disagree about what constitutes a fair award. By consulting a family law attorney, you can determine whether the value and duration of your award – whether you are the payor or recipient – is appropriate for your circumstances.