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How To Calculate The Amount Of Alimony Correctly

The laws governing spousal maintenance (alimony) in Illinois drastically changed on January 1, 2015, when the Illinois Legislature enacted the following guidelines for calculating both the (1) amount of alimony and (2) duration of alimony payments, and the law has continued to be updated since then. To calculate the amount of alimony and the duration correctly, follow the Illinois alimony statute. Below is a summary with examples regarding to how calculate the amount of alimony so you can understand how much alimony you may receive or be required to pay.

Determining the correct amount of alimony

The amount of alimony is determined by taking thirty-three and one-third percent of the payer’s net yearly income minus twenty-five percent of the payee’s net yearly income. The amount, when combined with the payee’s gross income, cannot result in the payee receiving more than forty percent of the parties’ combined net income. (**This calculation applies if the parties’ combined gross yearly income is below $500,000 and the payer has no obligation to pay child support or maintenance from a prior relationship, unless the court finds that this calculation would be inappropriate).

Amount Of Alimony

 

Example 1 (Forty Percent Rule Not Applicable):

  • Assume spouse A (payer) has a net income of $95,000 and spouse B (payee) nets $15,000. Thus, thirty-three and one-third percent of payer’s net income is $31,667.67 and twenty-five percent of payee’s net income is $3,750. The difference of $27,916.67 plus the payee’s net income of $15,000 equals $42,916.67. Forty percent of the parties’ total combined net income is $44,000.
  • Therefore, $27,916.67 would be the amount of alimony to be paid each year because the amount calculated as alimony, when added to the gross net income of the payee ($15,000) does not result in the payee receiving more than forty percent of the parties’ combined net income.

 

Example 2 (Forty Percent Rule Applicable):

  • Assume spouse A (payer) has a net income of $95,000 and spouse B (payee) nets $25,000 per year. Thus, thirty-three and one-third percent of the payer’s net income is $31,667.67 and twenty-five percent of the payee’s net income is $6,250. The difference of $25,416.67 plus the payee’s net income of $25,000 equals $50,416.67. Forty percent of the parties’ total combined net income is $48,000. Since $50,416.67 exceeds forty percent of the parties’ total combined net income by $2,416.67, that must be subtracted from the $25,416.67 difference, which limits the payee’s alimony to $23,000 each year.
  • The major difference between this example and Example 1 is that the amount calculated as alimony in this example, when added to the payee’s net income, results in the payee receiving more than forty percent of the parties’ combined net income. Thus, the payee’s alimony is reduced so that it is not more than the forty percent ceiling.

 

**Rule of thumb: The greater the difference between the payer and payee’s income, the less likely the forty percent rule will limit the payee’s award.

Divorce Lawyer Normal IL

 

Calculating the duration of alimony

Another major change in the laws governing alimony addresses how the duration of the alimony/maintenance is to be determined. Now courts multiply the number of years the spouses were married by a designated number as follows:

  • less than 5 years = multiply by .20
  • 5 years or more but less than 6 years = multiply by .24
  • 6 years or more but less than 7 years = multiply by .28
  • 7 years or more but less than 8 years = multiply by .32
  • 8 years or more but less than 9 years = multiply by .36
  • 9 years or more but less than 10 years = multiply by .40
  • 10 years or more but less than 11 years = multiply by .44
  • 11 years or more but less than 12 years = multiply by .48
  • 12 years or more but less than 13 years = multiply by .52
  • 13 years or more but less than 14 years = multiply by .56
  • 14 years or more but less than 15 years = multiply by .60
  • 15 years or more but less than 16 years = multiply by .64
  • 16 years or more but less than 17 years = multiply by .68
  • 17 years or more but less than 18 years = multiply by .72
  • 18 years or more but less than 19 years = multiply by .76
  • 19 years or more but less than 20 years = multiply by .80
  • 20+ years = the court has discretion to order alimony for a time period equal to the length of marriage or for an indefinite term.

Illinois courts are required to adhere to the guidelines regarding the amount of alimony and the duration unless the judge finds that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate. If such a finding is made, the judge must articulate the reason behind the variance from the guidelines. Thus, while these guidelines have shifted the law governing alimony awards towards a more black and white rule, there remains room for the court to exercise its discretion when the circumstances warrant it.

Click the article below to learn the best practices for receiving alimony.

How To Get Alimony? – 4 Great Ways

Understanding how much alimony you may receive or be required to pay is an important aspect of divorce. Whether you are seeking alimony or attempting to avoid these spousal support payments, you may want to consult a knowledgeable divorce attorney who understands the nuances of the Illinois courts and when judges tend to vary from these guidelines. Contact the family law firm of Koth Gregory & Nieminski in Bloomington IL at 309-828-5090 or click here. Let us ease your burden and be your advocate.

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