If you plan to pursue spousal support in your Illinois divorce, you may have questions about how the state decides whether to award it to you. On the flip side, if you suspect you may have to pay spousal support when your marriage ends, you may have similar questions about the likelihood of you having to pay it.

Per the Illinois General Assembly, when Illinois courts make decisions about spousal support, they refer to the same set of standards to do so. What might these standards include?

Assessing entitlement to maintenance

Often, the first area a court considers when making alimony-related decisions is how much income and property each party has available. The current and future earning capacity of each party may also come into play. If you or your ex sacrificed your career or education for the benefit of your then-spouse, this may make a spousal support arrangement more likely.

The standard of living you both enjoyed before your marriage ended may also factor into decisions about spousal maintenance. Generally, courts try to make it so you both enjoy a similar standard of living after divorce.

Additional considerations

The length of your marriage may also help determine whether you or your ex receive spousal maintenance. Your chances of having the court implement a spousal support arrangement often increase alongside the length of your marriage, although this is not an absolute certainty.

Other factors that may come into play include the tax consequences faced by each of you, how much retirement income you each have and whether you had an agreement in place before you married.

If an Illinois court does decide to award spousal maintenance in your divorce, it uses a set formula to determine how much one party must pay the other. To determine the amount paid, the court takes 33 1/3% of the paying party’s net income minus 25% of the receiving party’s net income.