Beware: Big Changes To The Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law In 2019

Big changes are coming to the Illinois spousal maintenance law (spousal support) specifically Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). This section deals with maintenance, which was formally referred to as “spousal support” or “alimony.” The changes are set to take effect on January 1, 2019. This is big news for anyone currently involved in divorce proceedings and parties who are contemplating filing for dissolution in the near future. If maintenance is a factor in your divorce you will want to speak to an attorney regarding the below-mentioned changes, as there will be a difference between Judgments for Dissolution of Marriage entered before and after January 1, 2019.

First, is Spousal Maintenance Appropriate?

Spousal Maintenance Duration and Amount

Guideline Maintenance vs. Non-Guideline Maintenance

As of January 1, 2019, maintenance will be calculated by taking 33 1/3 % of the payor’s NET annual income minus 25% of the payee’s NET annual income. This is a major change due to recent changes in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code. Previously, guideline maintenance was calculated by taking 30% of the payor’s GROSS annual income minus 20% of the payee’s GROSS annual income.

The court will order maintenance for a duration that corresponds with the percentages that can be found in Section 504 of the IMDMA. Length of marriage is from date of marriage to date that a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed. Here’s how it breaks down based on duration:

Marriages — Duration Percentages for Spousal Maintenance

  • 5 years or more but less than 6 years (0.24) or 24%
  • 6 years or more but less than 7 years (0.28) or 28%
  • 7years or more but less than 8 years (0.32) or 32%
  • 8 years or more but less than 9 years (0.36) or 36%
  • 9 years or more but less than 10 years (0.40) or 40%
  • 10years or more but less than 11 years (0.44) or 44%
  • 11 years or more but less than 12 years (0.48) or 48%
  • 12 years or more but less than 13 years (0.52) or 52%
  • 13 years or more but less than 14 years (0.56) or 56%
  • 14 years or more but less than 15 years (0.60) or 60%
  • 15 years or more but less than 16 years (0.64) or 64%
  • 16 years or more but less than 17 years (0.68) or 68%
  • 17 years or more but less than 18 years (0.72) or 72%
  • 17 years or more but less than 18 years (0.76) or 76%
  • 17 years or more but less than 18 years (0.80) or 80%
  • 20 or more years: The court, in its discretion, shall order maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage (100%) or for an indefinite term.

If the court deviates from the guidelines the court must state why. The court shall state whether the maintenance is fixed-term, indefinite, reviewable, or reserved by the court.

If fixed-term maintenance is granted then the maintenance terminates at the end of the period during which maintenance is to be paid. Maintenance is then barred after the said period ends.

Indefinite maintenance does not have an end date and it continues until modification or later termination.

If reviewable maintenance is granted, the court must state the period of the specific term of maintenance and state that it is reviewable.

Upon review, the court will determine if the maintenance should continue for further review, extend for a fixed non-modifiable term, extend indefinitely, or permanently terminate. This maintenance could also be modified or terminated pursuant to Section 510 depending on the facts of the case.

Maintenance Safeguards

Additional language has been added to the statute to make sure that, in the event, that a payor’s guideline- based maintenance and child support obligation exceed 50% of their net income, the court may then determine non-guideline maintenance and/or non-guideline child support.

Modifications to Maintenance Orders Entered Prior to January 1, 2019

Biggest Takeaway from the Illinois 2019 Maintenance Law

If you have questions or concerns about spousal maintenance or another divorce-related issue contact Nichol Broshous or email Anderson & Boback to schedule your confidential consultation with our Chicago divorce attorneys to learn more about spousal maintenance law.


When Everything Is On The Line, You Need An Attorney You Can Trust, That Will Advocate & Fight For Your Family! We Can Help!