Maintenance (Alimony) Calculator


During a divorce, it can sometimes be difficult to translate statue and laws into real world examples. This is especially true for maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support.

Figuring out the numbers and specifics during your divorce can add a lot of stress to an already stressful time. At the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern in Evanston and Chicago, we have provided a real-world example of maintenance and created a maintenance calculator to help you better understand maintenance awards in your unique situation—and help your divorce be resolved as quickly as possible.

As always, it is advisable to consult with a divorce attorney about the specifics of your case. Please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern with any questions you may have.

Is Maintenance Needed?

The first step in any maintenance case is to determine whether a maintenance award is necessary. In determining whether one spouse should receive spousal support from the other, the court will consider a long list of factors including:

(1) the income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance as well as all financial obligations imposed on the parties as a result of the dissolution of marriage;

(2) the needs of each party;

(3) the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party;

(4) any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage;

(5) any impairment of the realistic present or future earning capacity of the party against whom maintenance is sought;

(6) the time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment;

(6.1) the effect of any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on a party’s ability to seek or maintain employment;

(7) the standard of living established during the marriage;

(8) the duration of the marriage;

(9) the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and the needs of each of the parties;

(10) all sources of public and private income including, without limitation, disability and retirement income;

(11) the tax consequences to each party;

(12) contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse;

(13) any valid agreement of the parties; and

(14) any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.

If, after reviewing all of the above factors, the court decides to award maintenance, it may do so based on the needs of the parties or utilize the spousal support formula contained in 750 ILCS 5/504. Most cases apply the statutory formula.

How to Calculate Maintenance in Illinois

Except where the couple otherwise agrees, maintenance awards in Illinois typically follow a statutory formula. Illinois updated its spousal support law on January 1, 2019 as a result of the prior federal tax overhaul. By statute, where the couples’ combined gross income is less than $500,000 per year (and the payor has no obligation of child support or maintenance from a prior relationship) maintenance is calculated at 33.3 percent (33.3%) of the higher earning spouse’s income minus 25 percent (25%) of the lower earning spouse’s income. The lower earning spouse cannot receive more than 40 percent of the parties’ combined net income.

What does that mean? Let’s say Jane and John are going through a divorce. Jane earns $100,000 per year in net income and John earns $45,000 per year in net income. Since Jane has a higher income, she will be paying alimony to John. His spousal support would be calculated as follows:

  • ($100,000 X .33.3) – ($45,000 X .25) = $21,050 per year
  • $21,050 per year plus John’s net income of $45,000 equals $66,050
  • However, the payee (John) may not receive more than 40% of the combined net income of the parties ($145,000 X .4) = $58,000
  • In this case, ($21,050 + $45,000) = $66,050, which would be more than 40% of the combined gross
  • As a result, maintenance for John is capped at $13,000 annually ($58,000 – $45,000)

The duration of support is related to the length of marriage. The longer a couple has been married, the longer the support obligation.

For marriages under 5 years, the duration of the support obligation is equal to 20% of the length of marriage. From there, the duration of support increases by 4% for each subsequent year of marriage. Accordingly, the duration of support looks like this:

  • 0-5 years = support is paid for 20% of the length of marriage
  • 5-6 years = support is paid for 24% of the length of marriage
  • 6-7 years = support is paid for 28% of the length of marriage
  • 7-8 years = support is paid for 32% of the length of marriage
  • 8-9 years = support is paid for 36% of the length of marriage
  • 9-10 years = support is paid for 40% of the length of marriage
  • 10-11 years = support is paid for 44% of the length of marriage
  • 11-12 years = support is paid for 48% of the length of marriage
  • 12-13 years = support is paid for 52% of the length of marriage
  • 13-14 years = support is paid for 56% of the length of marriage
  • 14-15 years = support is paid for 60% of the length of marriage
  • 15-16 years = support is paid for 64% of the length of marriage
  • 16-17 years = support is paid for 68% of the length of marriage
  • 17-18 years = support is paid for 72% of the length of marriage
  • 18-19 years = support is paid for 76% of the length of marriage
  • 19-20 years = support is paid for 80% of the length of marriage
  • 20 years or more = support is paid for a period equal to the length of marriage or permanently

Bottom line: maintenance can be complicated. But the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern in Evanston and Chicago is familiar with the legal statutes and committed to helping the process be as easy as possible. When it comes to the numbers, we believe you shouldn’t be left confused.

Contact an Evanston Divorce Law Firm

Contact the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern with any questions about maintenance or alimony; we are happy to help. Request a free consultation online or call us at (847) 868-9584. We can meet with you in our offices in Evanston or Chicago, or at another location.


Our boutique family law firm is based in Evanston and serves clients across Chicago and the North Shore, including Skokie, Winnetka, Wilmette and Glenview.

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For a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.