Spousal maintenance is financial support that one spouse may be required to pay to the other during a divorce or following a legal separation. In 2015, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act added a clause that laid out a specific equation for calculating the amount of spousal support to be paid. The amount and duration of the payments are determined by an equation that takes into account various factors, including the length of the marriage, the income of both spouses, and the needs of each spouse.
This formula, however, applies only to couples with a combined gross income of less than $250,000. It does not take into account complex financial details associated with high-asset couples who often have multiple sources of income, such as investments, real estate, and businesses, so these assets must be divided in divorce proceedings.
Factors the court will always consider
When deciding whether to award spousal maintenance, the court will always consider certain factors, regardless of whether the divorce is a high-asset divorce or not. These factors include:
- Length of the marriage
- Age and physical condition of the spouses
- Occupation and skills of each spouse
- Contribution to the other’s education or career
- The ability to become self-supporting
Special considerations for high-asset divorce
In high-asset divorce cases, there are additional circumstances that the court will consider, including:
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Any current or future income of either spouse
- The current and potential earning capacities of both parties
- Tax consequences resulting from any award of spousal maintenance
For example, consider a couple that has been married for many years, with one spouse serving as the primary breadwinner while the other takes care of the household duties. In a high-asset divorce, the non-income-earning spouse may need financial assistance to make ends meet after the separation. In this case, the court would take into account not just their respective incomes and standard of living while married but also the value of their marital assets, such as real estate holdings, investments, retirement funds, and other properties.
In Illinois, courts take into account a variety of factors when calculating spousal support payments. A divorce attorney can help you determine what type of support is most appropriate for your individual situation. Generally, the court looks at income, age, physical condition, and other factors in determining what level of spousal support is fair and necessary.
The goal of the court is to ensure that both parties have enough resources to provide for their own needs while still allowing each party to maintain a reasonable lifestyle.