New Spousal Support Guidelines Await Governor's Signature

Posted on in Wheaton Divorce Attorney
DuPage County divorce attorney, pay support, spousal support, spousal support guidelines, Wheaton divorce attorneyOne of the key portions of any divorce proceeding is the determination of spousal support, also referred to as alimony. This is the money that one former spouse pays to the other to support them as they transition back to their single life. The current system of calculating spousal support is based on a wide array of factors, including things like both spouses' incomes and property, the spouses' needs and earning capacities, the standard of living that occurred during the marriage, and the duration of the marriage. This has led to spousal support amounts being somewhat unpredictable at times.

Now, a new bill that is currently awaiting the governor's signature plans to reform that. The bill will not remove those factors from play entirely, but it will provide more concrete guidelines for judges to follow. The bill adds a new method of calculating support terms and the amount of time that the supporting spouse will be required to pay support, which will now be based on the length of the marriage. Additionally, the bill provides more strict mathematical formulas for calculating the amount of spousal support that a person will owe.

New Support Terms

The first set of guidelines that the law creates are a set of support terms. These are suggested periods for which supporting spouses must pay alimony, based on the length of the marriage. The new law applies a simple mathematical formula to calculate the support term. The judge multiplies the length of the marriage by a specific factor that changes based on the length of the marriage, as shown in the table below.

Marriage Length

Support Factor

0–5 Years


5–10 Years


10–15 Years


15–20 Years


20 or more Years


This means that a couple who has been married for four years would have a support term of 0.8 years because the support term would be four years times the support factor of 0.20. Additionally, the law also allows judges to order permanent support for marriages that lasted more than 20 years.

Support Calculations

The law also creates a new mathematical guideline for the amount of support owed, though the judge may deviate from this amount for a specific reason. The law requires judges to calculate support by taking 30 percent of the supporting spouse's gross income and subtracting 20 percent of the supported spouse's gross income from it. Thus, if the supporting spouse made $100,000 every year, and the supported spouse made $50,000 every year, the support obligation would be $30,000–$10,000=$20,000. However, there are two exceptions to this: this only applies to couples making less than $250,000 collectively, and the support may not exceed 40 percent of the combined income.

The legal landscape of the divorce process is constantly shifting. To get the most up-to-date advice for your specific situation, reach out to an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Our skilled team can help tailor a divorce strategy to your unique needs.

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