Illinois Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “IL”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in Illinois is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the IL alimony law.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

What is Alimony?

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Land of Lincoln, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in IL

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Illinois

In relation to alimony, the amended Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 2019, underwent major amendments, outlining four primary types of alimony that may be offered after a divorce: temporary alimony, fixed-term alimony, reviewable alimony, and permanent alimony.

Temporary Alimony in Illinois

Temporary alimony (sometimes known as “temporary maintenance”) is a type of financial support given to one spouse while their divorce is proceeding. Temporary alimony is meant to pay the recipient’s living expenses while the divorce is pending, and is usually issued when the couples have opted to live separately.

If a spouse requires temporary alimony, he or she should include a request in the first divorce file, while it is permissible to submit a request later in the divorce process if necessary. Once the divorce is finalized, a temporary alimony order expires.

Fixed-Term Alimony in IL

Fixed-term alimony is maintenance that is granted for a specific period of time. This type of alimony is typically provided to allow the beneficiary to become financially self-supporting (in certain states, this is known as “rehabilitative alimony”). In most cases, a fixed-term alimony award will be suitable in the following situations:

  • During the marriage, the spouse claiming alimony gave up a job in order to take on childrearing or housekeeping obligations;
  • In order to rely on the other spouse’s income, the spouse requesting alimony forewent educational or training opportunities throughout the marriage; and/or
  • Because the spouse requesting alimony has restricted income potential, he or she will need to pursue training or education in order to sustain their current way of living once alimony payments stop.

Reviewable Alimony in Illinois

Reviewablealimony is comparable to fixed-term alimony, except it is not granted for a set period of time. Rather, the recipient’s entitlement to keep receiving payments is reviewed by the court on a regular basis and is usually conditional on the beneficiary making good-faith attempts to become self-sufficient.

Reviewable alimony may be suitable in cases where the beneficiary does not have a clear route to self-sufficiency or where the duty of raising children prevents the recipient from continuing his or her training or education without disruption.

Permanent (Indefinite) Alimony in IL

Permanent alimony, as the name implies, is financial support that is provided for the rest of the recipient’s life. Nevertheless, because perpetual alimony can still be discontinued in certain circumstances, also it is (and possibly more correctly) described as indefinite maintenance under the Code.

Permanent or indefinite alimony is only authorized in divorces involving marriages of 20 years or more, according to the Act. Or a marriage of 20 years or longer, the judge shall grant either permanent maintenance for a term equivalent to the duration of the marriage,” according to the legislation.

Who Pays Alimony in Illinois?

In Illinois alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Land of Lincoln is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Illinois if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in IL?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long alimony payment should last in Illinois

The duration to pay alimony in Illinois can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. The duration of spousal support or maintenance payments in Illinois is mostly determined by the length of the marriage. Payments will be made for a percentage of the years of marriage, with the percentage increasing as the marriage progresses, as indicated below:

  • Married for less than 5 years: 0.20
  • Married for 5 years: 0.24
  • Married for 6 years: 0.28
  • Married for 7 years: 0.32
  • Married for 8 years: 0.36
  • Married for 9 years: 0.40
  • Married for 10 years: 0.44
  • Married for 11 years: 0.48
  • Married for 12 years: 0.52
  • Married for 13 years: 0.56
  • Married for 14 years: 0.60
  • Married for 15 years: 0.64
  • Married for 16 years: 0.68
  • Married for 17 years: 0.72
  • Married for 18 years: 0.76
  • Married for 19 years: 0.80
  • Married for 20 years or more:
    Courts have the option of ordering permanent spousal support or maintenance for the duration of the marriage.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Illinois

When it comes to collecting spousal support in Illinois, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Factors That Influence Alimony in Illinois

The average amount payable as spousal support in Illinois after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in IL, the courts in IL take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Land of Lincoln. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in IL

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Illinois

Significant changes were made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in 2019. The following alimony calculation formulas apply to all divorces filed in 2019 or later:

(33 percent of the payer’s net income) – (25 percent of the recipient’s net income) = The yearly maintenance paid equals.

One requirement is that the amount awarded cannot result in the receiving spouse earning more than 40% of the couple’s total net income.

There is only one exception to the above-mentioned formulas. It will apply if a couple’s total yearly income is less than $500,000 and the paying spouse has never been ordered to pay child support before. Even outside of these situations, though, the same formulas are frequently used to determine support.

The amount to be paid as spousal support in Illinois is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in IL, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Illinois Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Illinois Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Illinois and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support,
your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. IL courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Illinois, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are
both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of ID divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and
representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Iowa Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Illinois Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in IL:

Can a Husband get Alimony in IL?

Yes. In Illinois, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Illinois?

Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in IL, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in IL?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Illinois, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Illinois?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Illinois and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in the Land of Lincoln?

Alimony is mandatory in Illinois as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Illinois?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in IL?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Illinois. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s an Illinois court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in IL}.

How to Modify Alimony in Illinois

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Illinois

When necessary, Illinois law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in IL usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and
effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in Illinois, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in IL.

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Illinois:

  • Retirement
  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in IL

In Land of Lincoln, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.