In Illinois law, alimony is called “maintenance.” Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage Act, officially known as “750 ILCS 5/504 Maintenance,” says that
“… the court may grant a maintenance award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and the maintenance may be paid from the income or property of the other spouse. The court shall first make a finding as to whether a maintenance award is appropriate, after consideration of all relevant factors, including:,”
So, maintenance (alimony) might be ordered in a particular case, if the judge determines that “… a maintenance award is appropriate…” after considering a list of relevant factors.
These factors in Section 504 are:
That’s a long list. As you can see, the length of the marriage, and each party’s health and earning ability are very important. Factor #14 allows the Court to any other factor that seems “… just and equitable” to the Court.
Then, if the Court determines that maintenance is appropriate, Section 504, and if the combined gross yearly income of the parties is less than $500,000 — and the person who’ll be paying maintenance has no prior child support or maintenance obligations from another relationship, then there are some ‘guidelines’ to help calculate the amount of maintenance:
(A) The amount of maintenance under this paragraph (1) shall be calculated by taking 33 1/3% of the payor’s net annual income minus 25% of the payee’s net annual income. The amount calculated as maintenance, however, when added to the net income of the payee, shall not result in the payee receiving an amount that is in excess of 40% of the combined net income of the parties.
This calculation of 1/3 of the higher earner’s net income minus 1/4 of the lower earner’s income seems clear, and then the maximum payment amount is 40% of the combined net income of the parties. (‘Net income’ means gross income minus taxes and certain required or allowed deductions.)
How long should the maintenance payments continue? According to the Section-504 guidelines, that is based on the length of the marriage: