In Illinois, maintenance is calculated using a formula that takes into consideration the duration of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the longer the duration of maintenance. Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act, the courts look at several factors related to the needs of the parties.
This includes, but is not limited to, the income or capacity to earn income of each party and the property of the parties. Furthermore, the court may also take into consideration the lost opportunities one spouse may have suffered due to decisions made in the marriage (i.e., if one parent decided to stay home and raise the children). Courts do not look at one single factor to determine the maintenance but weigh all the factors together to determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate.
Furthermore, in 2019, the legislature changed how maintenance is categorized under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act. The court shall state whether the maintenance is fixed-term, indefinite, reviewable, or reserved by the court.
Fixed Term Maintenance has a set end date that can be established by agreement or by the court. This is payable for a fixed period so that the receiving spouse had some time to gain skills to be able to support themselves.
Reviewable Maintenance means that at the end of the stated maintenance period, a review can be conducted by the court to determine if the party that received the maintenance still needs to continue receiving it. The court takes into consideration the ability of the receiving party to earn income and obtain financial independence, as well as other factors.
Indefinite Maintenance can be permanent maintenance unless there is a statute that terminates maintenance. Events that trigger the termination of maintenance by statute include death of either party, re-marriage, or cohabitation. Indefinite maintenance is more appropriate for marriages that have lasted at least twenty years.
If you have further questions regarding maintenance, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.