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Will I be ordered to pay alimony?

Illinois has a law that sets standards for alimony, making it much easier for your attorney to determine if you will have to pay alimony, and how much you may have to pay if you are ordered to do so. The Illinois Bar Association explains there is a formula that judges are encouraged to use to determine their rulings for spousal support.

While the length of alimony is determined by the length of the marriage, there is a formula that determines the amount. The total amount of support you are ordered to pay would be no more than 40 percent of your income plus your spouse’s income. This is an important point because the law also says that you will pay 30 percent of your income minus 20 percent of your spouse’s income. Sometimes this calculation will mean the income exceeds the 40 percent threshold. So, making calculations can become a little tricky.

For example, if your spouse currently earns $20,000 a year and you earn $35,000 a year, 30 percent of your income would be $10,500 and 20 percent of her income would be $4,000. Subtract $4,000 from $10,500 to get $6,500 in alimony. However, 40 percent of your combined income is $22,000. With the addition of the alimony, your wife’s income is now $26,500, which exceeds this threshold. In order to stay within the 40 percent limit, you may only be ordered to pay $2,000.

An important point here that you want to recognize is that the difference in your earnings will play a huge role in whether you even will have to pay. If there is a bigger difference, then you may have to pay more, but if you are earning similar amounts, you may not be ordered to pay any at all.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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  • Lake County Bar Association | 1912
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