How is Spousal Support Calculated?

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

Are you in the process of getting divorced and want to know how spousal support is calculated? Check out this short video with me and Chicago divorce attorney Mark Schondorf.

Hey, Barry here with the LawFull channel. In this video, I sit down with Mark to provide you some information on how alimony or spousal support is calculated.

So, what is spousal support? Spousal support, which is often called alimony, is money paid from one spouse to another after a divorce. The idea of alimony is to maintain the lifestyle that the other spouse enjoyed during the relationship.

Spousal support applies to men and women equally. So, if the husband was making more than the wife, he may have to pay spousal support and vice versa, a wife may have to pay spousal support to her husband.
Spousal support is not guaranteed in Illinois. But every state is different. So I encourage you to look at your state’s laws on alimony.

What are the factors in determining alimony? The factors in Illinois to look to determine whether a spouse will have to pay alimony include:

What are the spouses’ current income?
What is their potential income?
How much non-marital property does the spouse seeking support have?
How much marital property will the spouse seeking support get in the divorce?

So hypothetically, if the spouse seeking support has a lot of money, it is very possible that the other spouse will not have to pay spousal support.

Also, if both parties make similar income, it is likely that neither spouse will have to pay spousal support.

But things are changing in this field as women continue to make more and more money. But there is a classic alimony situation that Mark still sees:

A young couple gets married with no kids, then they have kids and the wife stays home to raise them. The husband is in the work force and advances and continues to make more and more money.

The wife meanwhile remains at home, does not have a job and does not advance her career and/or make more and more money.

In this “traditional” spousal support situation, the husband pays spousal support.

How long does spousal support go on for? Does alimony go on forever?
The answer is, it depends on the laws of the state you are in.

In Illinois, there is a table that determines how long spousal support goes on for. Very generally speaking, if the marriage lasted 5 years or less, then a spouse will be entitled to 20% of the time of the marriage in alimony – or one year.

If the marriage lasted 15 or 16 years etc., then the spouse might be entitled to 80 or 90% of the marriage in years of support.

After 20 years, the court might award 100% of the time of the marriage in support, or 20 years. The court may also award support indefinitely.

Is spousal support modifiable? In Illinois spousal support is modifiable upon a substantial change in circumstances. Meaning, if the spouse receiving spousal support gets a job and ends up making a lot of money, the spouse paying support might petition to have the support payment reduced.

Also, losing a job might be grounds for modifying spousal support as well.

Is alimony avoidable? It might be. In Illinois you can agree in a divorce decree that spousal support is non-modifiable. In that case, it may stick no matter what happens.

Are there alternatives to paying spousal support? There are. The parties in Illinois can enter into a “maintenance buyout” which provides the spouse a large chunk of money or property up front, thus terminating the obligation for spousal support.

Are there times when spousal support might end sooner than expected? There are. For example, if one of the parties dies in Illinois, that will terminate the payments.

And again if one spouse gets a great paying job, then spousal support may no longer be needed.

Finally, in Illinois, if one spouse starts cohabitating with a significant other on a conjugal basis, meaning truly living together, that might be grounds to end alimony payments.


  1. My soon to be ex wife are both on disability and work part-time we make almost the same ammont of money an we were only together under 2 years. Would that generally make me have to pay alimony? Also what is there is a domestic case in the marriage with her being the aggressive party in it

  2. In Tennesee, I got stuck with an 8 years spousal support plan. $1,000 a month. I can barely afford it. Even if my Ex starts to cohabitate with another male, how in the hell do I prove that in court? Hire an investigator?

  3. I’m confused by how a single person wants the financial benefits on a 2 person system as though that is a permanent that way.
    If the women divorces the man and gets support and can only lose that support when they re-marry. Well as a man when you get re- married do you still have to pay support for your previous marriage?

  4. Paying alimony for years just because ex-wife knows the requirements and stays in single house while being able to work but choosing not to because why not? Cant afford lawyer to reopen case because of said alimony. Help

  5. Am grateful today that Dr Igodo has restored my husband back to me who left me for another woman for a year now.. It was just a surprise as Dr Igodo cast a spell on my husband and he came back to me and the children… In case you are out there still facing this kind of marriage or relationship problem, worry not as you will contact me to direct you to Dr Igodo to solve your issue for you… Thanks to Dr Igodo once again for restoring my husband back to me..

  6. marriage is a scam ment to protect women and not men. dont fall for it. stay alone and have lots of meaningless sex it’s a lot more fun and you will save tons of money 😉 i got married and ended up broke after divorce. i rebuilt my bank account and i will NEVER make this mistake again. BE FREE GUYS you dont need a woman in your life to be happy. your money will be better spent on yourselves.

  7. It’s 2020 people. For the love of all things holy it is time to do away with one of the most insanely archaic and draconian laws in existence. I’m waiting for the Bosarge case to set a precedent, then hopefully men who are stupid enough to get married can put all THEIR assets in a South Dakota Trust.

  8. My husband insisted I stay home because he’s to anxious to have a baby sitter. So for 8 years my career and 401k went up in smoke. It was stupid of me. I want to try a separation to see if that is a wake up call. But I’d be starting with zero. He’s always inheriting money and anything I’ve been given has just dissolved into our account. I just feel like I’m his nanny house keeper and I was actually better off single in one of my careers. He doesn’t have as much education or skills as me. Not to be mean. He’s a nice guy and a hard worker. But schizoid so relating to people including me isn’t his thing.

  9. I personally think spousal support is b.s! Wether you are a man or women! It isn’t fair to have to be paying for someone that doesn’t want to be in your life anymore.

    The only exception to this I would say are when kids are involved. Basically child support because the kids are both the parents responsibility.

    Would LOVE to be married one day but this freaks me out!

  10. Wife left me after 25 years. She’s not remarried to her boyfriend yet. I received therapy for depression a d can prove it. After 3 years I’m still struggling financially. She has a high paying job. Could I ask for so.e support in Oregon. I’m not tryungvto be a jerk and ask indefinitely just for the last few years and may e the next year to help out?

  11. I can’t even tell you how many people I know that are divorced and I don’t know one woman that’s ever paid alimony / spousal support. So that’s a bunch of BS that women pay just as much spousal support as men ………….. And let me guess men also get custody of the kids half the time right LMFAO

  12. Why should anyone pay spousal support it doesn’t make any sense. Why should you pay someone else for a lifestyle they had with you after they decided to separate from you. That’s obscured. Your employer doesn’t pay you to live the lifestyle you lived when you worked at another business,(Its not their concern). You marry for love not for money or am I wrong.

    Either way its a trap for the bread winner if its not a prenup its a spousal support

  13. I think Women should never leave Job & try to be independent. Don’t rely on Husband even if he asks you to do so. Because it’s really difficult to join workforce after a long break. Every Single Man hates to pay spousal Support.

  14. Hi,I really need help,my husband withdraws Permanent residency, 2.5 of marriage,now separated,no job,no central link,living in refugee camp.medical condition bad,victim of domestic violence for 2.can’t able to work.can I get spousal support.thanks

  15. What if one spouse is retired with pension, social security and 401k is 3 years older, the other has two years before they retire, no minor children. Would that be consideration for spousal support to pay the retired person? The only they have to split equally is the house. OR do they just give the house to a woman?

  16. I am drowning in this divorce. My parish is so corrupt. You stated that if you can help you would find someone that could, I’m 45, in the middle of a disability suit And my husband walked o it a month ago and cut me off totally. He make over 200,000 a year and I am told the most I can get for interim is 1,000 for one year.

  17. Don’t get married. Family law entices women to act upon their worst traits of hypergamy. Divorce is all but guaranteed. Let them fend for themselves for a change.

  18. What I am trying to find out what should I do now Curt’s are closed and I haven’t recive a dime for any help from him what can I do and what advice you can give me

  19. I’m in MA and my attorney says I don’t qualify for spousal support because we both together didn’t make 250,000???

  20. Is spousal support based on the money that’s being made or the lifestyle being lived?
    If I’m rich but I live modestly, I don’t waste money, no fancy cars and houses is her claim the modest lifestyle or my bank balance? Is it also based in income or net worth? If I simply stop working and earn no money but I own stock and never actually ashbout the investment what happens? There’s no income, no money just assets.

  21. I’m so excited my broken Marriage has been restored my wife is back after she left me and our kids for another man, I was so happy to meet Dr Otor ,how he helped many people to bring there Lover back. So I contacted him to help me too. that was how Dr. Otor help me to bring my wife back.. A big thanks to you Dr. Otor because I never thought my wife will ever come back to me so quickly. Thank you for restoring back my home..💯

  22. Trust your spouse but don’t fall for his gimmicks. When my husband started getting frequent night calls, I would ask and he would just wave off those calls as unimportant. At a point i could take no more of his lies, I decided i deserve to know what was going on. A friend of mine referred me to Cyber Hacking Sage who helped clone my husband’s cell phone without having to touch the device. My husband was a cheating Narcissist all along and I’m glad i found out all his secrets and infidelity through the help of this Sage hacker. I got access to my husband’s text messages ( both incoming and deleted text as far back as 2 years), Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, GPS location, WhatsApp, and Call Logs with a remote link to a programmed App on my phone. I’m here in Florida and able to access my husband’s phone even while he was away in Singapore cheating on me. Thanks to Cyberhackingsage, now i have enough evidence for my divorce. If you’re ever in doubt or you need that extra bit of closure, I recommend you send a mail to cyberhackingsage@gmail or text and WhatsApp them at +1 571 375 8467. I hope you find peace of mind just like me after I discovered the truth.

  23. What if before you got married he was cheating say want do any more but you still got married anyway then 7years later he started back until this day .in 2016 before Christmas he left move in with her and never seen him my mom funeral then my dad funeral and no more .He the one out there shacking up with her. I been faithful from the we met

  24. I live in new york I have been married for legally with my husband since 2001 the last seven yet he was uneventful to me he admitted I give him first chance he didn’t change ,the second but still same he for the last three years he refuse to sleep or even do his duties as husband he was more a roommate like at home we have two children ,and I have two from priveus marriege he was with me since they where very small and when we had our own meaning his children he never helped or was in there life as a father now is going on three weeks since I ended with him and I am thinking on divorceing him and he price he will help me weekly to give 400 that’s the money I will use more to pay rent and bills since I am disabled and receive 815 monthly and receive snap benefits for food

  25. In Florida if both spouses are disabled and one spouse collects disability, can the other spouse get alimony from their disability check?

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