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Spousal Support & Maintenance

What is Spousal Support?

Sometimes during a divorce, one of the spouse's is required, or have agreed to, to provide financial support to the other.  This legal financial obligation given to their former spouse is known as spousal support, maintenance and/or alimony.  In Illinois, the law permits a spouse to temporarily ask for support while a divorce case is pending.  Other cases where one of the spouses cannot provide for him/herself due to illness, age, or other factors, the Judge may order ongoing maintenance.

How is Spousal Support calculated in Illinois?

Illinois courts apply guidelines and limits when determining the amount of maintenance if the combined gross income of the parties is less than $500,000.00 and the payer has no prior maintenance obligations to pay from a prior relationship.


The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) provides a simple formula for determining maintenance when courts apply statutory guidelines. That formula is as follows:

Illinois Spousal Support Calculator

Estimate your entitled maintenance support

Step 1: Calculate 33% of Paying Spouse Net Income

Step 2: Calculate 25% of Maintenance Receiving Spouse Net Income


Use the Illinois formula to calculate estimated maintenance support
Maintenance = Step 1 - Step 2

Note: This is just a guideline.
Illinois laws are consistently changing, contact Attorney Faye M. Lyon for the most accurate amount(s)

Consider the Variables

When the parties have variable factors at play, such as variable or inconsistent income, bonuses, commissions and overtime, calculating the maintenance amount becomes a more complicated task.

To avoid frustrations and confusion, talk to an experienced spousal support attorney, such as Attorney Faye M. Lyon, to help you navigate this complex situation and guide you towards your best outcome.

Commonly asked questions

Illinois has set guidelines for the duration of spousal support. This length of time is determined by the how long you have been married.  A few examples are:

  • Married for less than 5 years = 2.0 years
  • Married for 8 years = 3.6 years
  • Married for 10 years = 4.4 years

The purpose of spousal support is to help provide a measure of independence to a financially dependent spouse. Therefore, the Court will have to be convinced this is the case and, based on the evidence provided, will determine the appropriate maintenance award.

Possibly, if there has been a substantial change in circumstances after the original order. You cannot just stop paying support. You and your attorney will need to properly file a motion to modify or terminate maintenance and schedule a hearing with the Court. The Court will determine whether the change of events is enough to justify the modification of your maintenance responsibilities.

"I wanted to tell you how grateful I am for all your hard work you did to be so organized, thorough and prepared for today’s hearing. It means so much to me that the things you say have purpose and are backed with truth. I am grateful that, as one of your clients, you have put trust in me. I surely will not forget that."

– Lauren

Contact Attorney Faye M. Lyon for Assistance

Attorney Faye M. Lyon has worked many cases involving spousal support.
Need to review your case?

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