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Calculating Maintenance in Illinois


“Maintenance” (sometimes referred to as “Alimony”) is support paid by one spouse to the other during or after a divorce. In Illinois, maintenance is awarded without regard to fault.

Illinois judges hearing divorce cases have historically exercised considerable discretion in determining both the need for and the amount of a maintenance award. Without the benefit of legislative guidelines, maintenance awards in Illinois have proven unpredictable and inconsistent. In May of 2014, the Illinois legislature finally codified maintenance award guidelines. The new guidelines apply to cases where the combined gross income of the parties is less than $250,000.00 and no multiple family situation exists. The new law will become effective on January 1, 2015.

We expect that the codification of guideline maintenance in Illinois will foster less contention between divorcing couples and enhance the percentage of negotiated outcomes.

In anticipation of the codification, the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky developed a maintenance calculator that incorporates the guideline percentages and limitations of the new Illinois law. Bear in mind that, the codification of maintenance guideline support in Illinois notwithstanding, Illinois court judges remain free to deviate from the statutory guidelines, subject to the requirement of an express finding justifying the reasons for the deviation.

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