In Illinois, as well as in other states, the court allows for spousal maintenance based on legal guidelines. In other words, the court sets the maintenance payments based on a fixed type of calculation, as well as how some specific situations may alter this standard payment. In addition, the law also lists the situations where spousal maintenance is considered, as well as how long it is to continue and under what conditions it can be stopped.
The Maintenance Support Question
The first decision of the court is to examine if spousal maintenance is appropriate. There are multiple factors the court looks at. These factors include the ability of the parties to work, the needs of the parties, the current income, the assets each party have, if a party is returning to school or training, standard of living, any physical or mental health disabilities, and how each party has contributed to the marriage. It is not automatic, and, in many divorces, spousal maintenance is not considered.
There are other factors to consider as well, including any agreements between the parties, such as prenuptial agreements, the length of the marriage, and if one party assisted the other party in their career or education. There is also the option for the court to consider any other type of factor that is relevant to the provision of spousal maintenance.
If the court deems that spousal maintenance is appropriate, they then consider the gross yearly income. If the gross yearly income is less than $500,000, the formula is used in most cases. If the judge elects not to use the formula, information must be provided as to why and how the specific provisions were determined.
When the income is over half a million dollars, the judge uses her or his discretion in evaluating the impact of the factors listed above, including any additional factors presented to the court.
Calculating the Net Income
The net income is required when the courts use the statutory guidelines for spousal maintenance and do not consider the separate factors. The formula for net incomes starts with the gross income and deducts specific types of expenses.
The gross income is all income the party makes over the year. This will not include any type of maintenance or spousal support that is to be awarded in the divorce. From this gross income total, the court then subtracts federal and state tax, social security payments, mandatory retirement payments and contributions, self-employment tax (if applicable), and finally, any child support the individual may pay as a result of a court order for children of another relationship.
As of January 1, 2019, the payor is no longer able to use spousal support payments as a tax deduction, and those receiving payments do not have to pay taxes on the support. This has tax implications for both parties and may make it more advantageous to both to consider other options in divisions of property and assets throughout the divorce process. Contact Keller Legal Services family law attorney for more information.