New Maintenance Law in Illinois

Beginning January 1, 2019, Illinois has a new formula for calculating maintenance. If you get divorced in 2019 and beyond, this new formula applies to your case.  Maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) used to be taxable to the payee and tax deductible by the payor.  If you are divorced and currently paying tax deductible maintenance, your maintenance will continue to be tax deductible until you are done paying it.  Even if you are modifying an order from 2018 or earlier, your maintenance will still be tax deductible.

The new formula for maintenance payment is 33.5% of the payor’s net income less 25% of the payee’s net income.  The most the payee can receive is 40% of the total net income between the two people.  For example, if the payor has a monthly net income of $10,000 and the payee has a monthly net income of $3,000, the monthly support would be $2,200.  The reason is it is not $2,600 ($10,000 x.335 less $3,000 x.25) is the the 40% cap applies in this situation.  The total net income for the couple is $13,000 ($10,000 + $3,000).  40% of this amount is $5,200.  This is the most net income the payee can take home.  If the payee is already bringing home $3,000, then $2,200 is the maintenance.

Like old law, this formula only applies to couples who earn a total gross income of $500,000 or less.  That said, courts can and sometimes do apply the formula incomes above $500,000.   The duration of maintenance payments has not changed.