On January 1, 2015, the amendments to Section 5 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act will take effect, drastically changing how maintenance (formally known as alimony) awards in Illinois are calculated. The court will determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate after consideration of all relevant factors, including the following:
Income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance;
Needs of each party;
Present and future earning capacity of each party;
Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities;
Time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training and employment;
Standard of living established during the marriage;
Duration of the marriage;
Age and physical/emotional condition of both parties;
Tax consequences of the property division upon the economic circumstances of the parties;
Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or license of the other spouse;
Valid agreements of the parties;
Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
Once the court determines that maintenance is appropriate, the court determines the amount to be paid. Where the combined gross income of both parties is less than $250,000.00, maintenance is calculated as follows: 30% of the payor's gross income minus 20% of the payee's gross income, and the amount of maintenance, when added to the gross income of the payee, cannot be in excess of 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.
Once the amount has been determined, the Court must then determine the duration of the maintenance award. This is calculated as follows: multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies ~ 0-5 years of marriage = 20%; 5-10 years of marriage = 40%; 10-15 years of marriage = 60%; or 15-20 years = 80%. For example, in a marriage of 10 years, the court would multiply 10 years by .4, which would equal 48 months, or 4 years of maintenance payments.
Any non-guideline award of maintenance shall be made after the court considers all relevant factors set forth above.