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How the 2019 Illinois Spousal Maintenance Law Affects Divorcing Couples

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the tax deduction for people paying spousal maintenance, or alimony, while exempting recipients from having to include those payments as taxable income. Many states, including Illinois, reacted to this substantial change by passing revised spousal maintenance legislation. The revised Illinois law made a number of changes to the ways in which Illinois spousal support payments as part of a divorce order are determined.

The state switched to using net income rather than gross income to determine alimony payments, so that the money a person actually receives in their paycheck after taxes and other deductions better reflects the tax burden on payors.

The payment calculation method was also changed:

  • Before 2019, monthly spousal maintenance payments were calculated as 30 percent of the payor’s gross monthly income, minus 20 percent of the recipient’s gross monthly income.
  • As of January 1, 2019, the payments are 33.3 percent of the payor’s net monthly income, minus 25 percent of the recipient’s net monthly income.

While the formula has changed, the maximum payment is still the same: the payment amount plus the recipient’s net monthly income cannot exceed 40 percent of the combined net monthly incomes of both parties.

Finally, the new law has changed how long the payer must pay maintenance. This duration period is still calculated by multiplying the years of marriage by a certain percentage, but according to revised percentages.

For marriages of five years or less, the duration period equals the years married multiplied by 20 percent. For example, if a marriage lasted four years, the duration is four times .20, or 0.8 year. The percentage increases for every year of marriage between six and 19. If you were married 20 or more years, permanent alimony may be awarded. An online calculator is available here.

If you have questions about spousal maintenance in Illinois, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky in Northfield. Whether you are getting divorced or have a past alimony order to deal with, our attorney can help. Call 847-416-1646 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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Paul Chatzky
Founder

About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
Paralegal

About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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