The Alimony Formula

A divorce alters your daily life. You must form a new routine, theoretically surrounded by half of the household items you had, in a new home. Perhaps through joint physical custody, you see your children half of the time but get to talk to them on the phone daily. Maybe you were the homemaker and a stay-at-home parent during your marriage. Ultimately, many in this situation determine they should find gainful employment. However, anyone who has explored the job industry within recent years may find that their field of work may not have any openings. In many cases, alimony becomes necessary for survival.

Who Is Eligible?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is court-ordered financial assistance paid by the capable party. The two sides split into the “supporting spouse” and the “dependent spouse”, where the supporting spouse is the side that would be paying. Consider your personal experience. Did you both earn income and take care of the home equally, or, as was the example earlier, did you take care of the home while your spouse was the primary breadwinner?

In the second situation, you may be financially dependent, making divorce a hardship for some. Although divorce is life-altering, the goal is to maintain a similar standard of living as enjoyed during the marriage. Therefore, a judge can order alimony in either a lump sum or on a continuous basis. Relevant factors to determine the necessity and duration of the payments are:

  • Income and property,
  • Earning capacity,
  • Impairment to procure income, and
  • The length of the marriage.

Determining Factors

The question remains about how much alimony becomes necessary. Just as in the situation with child support, spousal support calculations are made on a case-by-case basis. Although stipulations exist, Illinois judges have a formula at their disposal as a reference guide for calculating an appropriate payment amount. The guidelines include:

  • Subtract 20 percent of the dependent’s gross income from 30 percent of the payor’s gross income, and
  • The amount paid must not equal more than 40 percent of the dependent’s total gross income once added to the original gross income.

Payments after divorce can be tricky to determine. Although this formula is useful to many families, it is simply not a one-size-fits-all model. It is a great starting point and may be adjusted either way, either by the judge or with the agreement of both divorcing parties. If you are interested in alimony and would like to discuss your situation with a DuPage County, IL divorce attorney, contact Keller Legal Services, P.C. today by calling 630-868-3093 to schedule your free initial consultation.