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McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC

Will County Spousal Support Lawyer

Will County Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

Attorney to Modify Maintenance or Alimony in Joliet, Homer Glen, and Plainfield

In many marriages, one spouse takes on the role of primary wage-earner while the other spouse focuses more of their energy on childcare and other duties at home. In other cases, one spouse may have sacrificed their career in order to enable the other spouse to advance theirs. When such a couple divorces, it can be difficult for the lower-earning spouse to immediately become self-supporting. If you are in this situation, you may want to ask for maintenance (formerly known as spousal support or alimony) as part of your marital settlement agreement.

At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, we know how much compromise and sacrifice goes into a marriage. We are also fully knowledgeable about the latest Illinois laws and practices regarding maintenance awards. Whether you are the seeker or the likely payor of maintenance, we are prepared to argue decisively for your financial interests. Depending on your financial and tax situation, it may be preferable to assign additional assets to one party in lieu of paying maintenance.

Determining Whether Maintenance Is Appropriate

Illinois law requires a court to first determine whether maintenance is appropriate at all, taking into consideration factors such as:

  • The income and property of each party, considering the allocation of marital debt and assets to each party as well as non-marital property belonging to the party seeking maintenance. All sources of income are to be considered, along with the tax consequences to each party.
  • The standard of living established during the marriage and the relative needs of each party.
  • The realistic present and future earning capacity of each party, taking into account their age, health, and other factors.
  • Any impairment to the payee's earning capacity due to sacrifices made in the course of the marriage, whether they can likely become self-supporting, how much time they will need to obtain appropriate training and employment, and the extent to which parental responsibilities will affect their ability to maintain employment.
  • The duration of the marriage.

The Amount and Duration of Maintenance Payments

Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/504) provides specific guidelines for calculating maintenance payments when a couple has a combined gross income of $500,000 or less. The court may deviate from these guidelines but must state its reasons for doing so.

The amount of maintenance is calculated by taking one-third of the payor's net annual income minus one-fourth of the payee's net annual income, subject to these limitations:

  • The combination of the payee's net income plus maintenance may not exceed 40% of the couple's combined net income.
  • The combined total of maintenance plus child support should not exceed 50% of the payor's net annual income. Net income is defined as gross income minus taxes and a few other types of necessary expenditures.

The duration of maintenance is calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by a percentage factor. Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the longer the duration of maintenance. For example:

  • For a marriage of less than 5 years, the factor is .20. Thus, for a marriage that lasted 4 years, maintenance would be awarded for 0.8 years.
  • For a marriage that lasted 10 years, the factor is .44, so the duration of maintenance would be 4.4 years.
  • For a marriage of 20 or more years, maintenance may be ordered for a period equal to the length of the marriage or for an indefinite term

Divorce Maintenance Attorney Serving Will County

If you are concerned about paying or receiving maintenance as part of your divorce settlement, we can advise you regarding your legal options and the financial consequences. Contact McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC in our Joliet office at 815-727-0100 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Will County including the cities of Bolingbrook, Frankfort, Homer Glen, Joliet, Lockport, Mokena, New Lenox, Plainfield, Romeoville, and Shorewood.

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