Book My Consult3

Illinois Alimony Laws

Alimony Laws in Illinois determine spousal support eligibility and amount based on statutory factors like length of marriage, income disparity, and ability to be self-sufficient. The court decides the duration. Types include rehabilitative, permanent, and reimbursement alimony. Modifications require changed circumstances.


Eligibility for Alimony in Illinois

In Illinois, alimony is not guaranteed and is awarded on a case-by-case basis. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), courts must consider the following statutory factors when determining eligibility for alimony:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Standard of living established during marriage
  • Age, health, employability, and educational level of each spouse
  • Earning capacity and ability to become self-supporting for the spouse seeking maintenance
  • Property, including marital and non-marital assets, divided between spouses

Generally, alimony is more likely to be awarded in long-term marriages where there is a disparity in incomes and ability to be self-supporting. However, every situation is unique and evaluated based on the IMDMA guidelines.
By using our Illinois alimony calculator, you can estimate payments.

Length of Marriage

Illinois defines a long-term marriage as 10 years or longer. Alimony is more commonly awarded and ordered for longer durations in long-term marriages.

Adjustments and Modifications to Alimony

The IMDMA allows for modification of alimony if a substantial change in circumstances is proven, such as a change in income, remarriage, or cohabitation. Any modifications must be approved by the court.

Enforcing Alimony Orders

If the paying spouse fails to pay alimony as ordered, the receiving spouse has legal options to enforce the order.


The Alimony Process in Illinois

When seeking alimony in Illinois, the petitioning spouse is required to include a request for it in the divorce petition, and both parties must file financial affidavits as per the provisions of the Illinois Statutes Chapter 750. The court has the authority to issue temporary support orders to maintain the existing status quo until final orders are determined.

Mediation is encouraged as a means to negotiate the terms of alimony and other divorce-related matters outside of the courtroom. In the event that mediation is successful, the agreements reached between the parties are formalized as consent orders.

However, if mediation fails to produce a mutually satisfactory resolution, the case proceeds to trial, which may involve pretrial conferences. During the trial, the court will hear arguments and consider the circumstances and needs of each party before issuing the final spousal support orders.

Step 1

Initiating and Filing for Alimony

To initiate alimony in Illinois, the petitioning spouse must request it in the petition for dissolution of marriage. Financial affidavits disclosing income, expenses, assets, and debts must be filed.

Step 2

Temporary Support

The court may order temporary spousal support while the divorce is pending. This is based on the financial affidavits and intended to maintain the status quo during proceedings.

Step 3


Mediation is optional but encouraged to negotiate alimony and other divorce terms out of court. If an agreement is reached, consent orders are entered. If not, the case proceeds to trial.

Step 4

Pretrial and Trial

Pretrial conferences may further attempt settlement. If that fails, the court will hear arguments and testimony, then issue final spousal support orders.

For immediate help with your family law case, call now
(312) 757-8082

Key Components of Illinois Alimony Laws

Factors considered when calculating alimony include the incomes of both spouses, the standard of living established during marriage, the duration of the marriage, and the age and health of both spouses.
Here’s how alimony is classified:

  • Permanent alimony continues until the receiving spouse dies, remarries, or enters into a de facto marriage. It aims to provide long-term support.
  • Rehabilitative alimony is time-limited and aims to support the receiving spouse in becoming self-sufficient through education or training.
  • Reimbursement alimony repays a spouse for expenses or contributions to the other spouse's education or career enhancement.
  • Temporary alimony provides interim financial support while the divorce is pending.

Calculating Alimony

In Illinois, alimony (also referred to as spousal maintenance) is calculated based on several factors. Unlike child support, there isn't a specific formula, but rather a more nuanced approach. You can use our Illinois alimony calculator to get an estimate.

Types of Alimony

Illinois recognizes permanent, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and temporary alimony. Permanent provides ongoing support, rehabilitative assists in becoming self-sufficient, reimbursement repays expenses, and temporary provides interim relief.

Duration of Alimony

The IMDMA does not dictate duration of alimony. It is discretionary based on factors like the length of marriage. Permanent alimony continues until death, remarriage, or cohabitation. Rehabilitative alimony is time-limited like for education.

Contested vs. Uncontested

In contested divorces, alimony cannot be agreed to by the spouses and is determined by the court at trial. Contested divorce trials involve presenting evidence and testimony to the judge, who then issues orders for alimony based on what is equitable under state laws. This can be a lengthier and more expensive process.
In uncontested divorces, the spouses are able to reach a marital settlement agreement outlining alimony terms. This avoids court determination and the spouses retain more control over the outcome as long as the agreement aligns with legal guidelines.

Post-Divorce Changes

Post-divorce, alimony can be modified or terminated through petitions approved by the court given changed circumstances.

Alimony in Different Divorce Scenarios

How alimony is determined and handled can vary depending on whether the divorce is contested versus uncontested, as well as through post-divorce petition processes.

Property Division and Alimony in Illinois

Property division and alimony are separate but related. The court will consider assets awarded to each spouse when ordering alimony. Alimony may be adjusted if a spouse retains significant non-marital property.

Effect of Property Division on Alimony

The court will consider how property is divided between the spouses when making alimony determinations. If one spouse is awarded significant assets, it may impact their need for alimony or the other spouse's ability to pay.

Treatment of Non-Marital Property

The court typically excludes non-marital property from division. However, alimony may be adjusted if a spouse retains substantial non-marital assets, as that impacts their financial position.

Calculating Child Support

Child support is calculated based on the Income Shares Model, considering the incomes of both parents, the number of children, and the children's needs. The court sets a specific monthly amount, consistent with Illinois Family Law guidelines.

Impact on Alimony Determinations

The amount of court-ordered child support is considered when evaluating what each parent can pay or needs for alimony. Alimony is determined after child support obligations, and while there are guidelines suggesting that the combined amount of child support and alimony should not exceed 50% of the payor's net income, this can vary depending on specific circumstances. The court may consider various factors in determining alimony, including the standard of living during the marriage, the needs of both parties, and the ability to pay, among others, in accordance with Illinois Statutes Chapter 750.

Child Support and Alimony in Illinois

Child support is handled independently from alimony but the combination cannot exceed 50% of the paying spouse's net income. Alimony is factored after child support when determining each spouse's ability to pay or need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies a spouse for alimony in Illinois?

A spouse may qualify for alimony in Illinois if they have insufficient income/assets and the other spouse has the ability to pay support.

What disqualifies you from alimony in Illinois?

Alimony in Illinois is determined case-by-case based on need, so may be denied if deemed unnecessary. To receive alimony, you must show payments are essential to maintain your standard of living. Adultery cannot impact alimony, as “marital misconduct” cannot influence the court's decision.

What is the maximum alimony in Illinois?

There is no absolute maximum alimony amount in Illinois. Support is determined case-by-case based on need and paying spouse's ability.

How many years do you have to be married to get alimony in Illinois?

There is no minimum number of years married to qualify for alimony in Illinois. The court considers the length of marriage and other factors.

Can a working wife get alimony in Illinois?

Yes, a working wife can qualify for alimony in Illinois if her income is considerably lower than her husband's.
Book My Consult