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How is the amount and duration of spousal support determined?

Illinois couples who are getting a divorce will frequently be in dispute over a litany of issues. Family law can be a complicated matter with many concerns for both parties. When one spouse is ordered to pay spousal support - also referred to as alimony or maintenance - the amount that will be paid and how long it will last are common worries. On the other side of the coin, the receiving spouse will want to know how much he or she will receive and its duration. Understanding what the law says about this is a fundamental part of a case. So too is having legal advice throughout the process.

When the court decides on spousal support, there are guidelines that will be used. If the parties' gross income in combination is less than $250,000 and the paying spouse is not obligated to pay support of any kind from a prior relationship, the amount paid will be calculated by discerning the paying spouse's gross income and taking 30 percent and subtracting 20 percent of the receiving spouse's gross income. The amount added to the receiving spouse's gross income cannot go beyond 40 percent of the couple's gross income.

With duration, the length of the marriage will be multiplied by various factors. If it was five years of fewer, it will be multiplied by .20. If it was more than five years but fewer than 10, it will be .40. If it was 10 years but fewer than 15 years, it will be .60. If it was 15 years or more and fewer than 20, it will be .80. When the marriage lasted 20 or more years, the court can order permanent support or support that will equal the duration of the marriage. As an example, those who were married five years or fewer will pay maintenance for one year.

Spousal support is one of the more contentious parts of a divorce and people who are concerned about how much it will be and how long it will last should understand the various considerations that are part of the process. Whether it is from the perspective of the receiving spouse or the paying spouse, legal assistance is a must and a law firm that has a history of assisting clients with their family law issues should be called for help.

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