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‍So what is included in each spouse's "gross income" for the purposes of calculating the amount of the maintenance award?

​The Income Withholding for Support Act defines "income" as any form of periodic payment to the party in question, regardless of source, including but not limited to: Once the amount of the maintenance award has been calculated, the judge will determine the duration of the maintenance payments.

"Financial independence" means that the spouse is able to continue the same standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.

Courts will consider the spouse's career expectations at the time of the marriage, and how the domestic duties of the marriage may have impaired those expectations.

The attorney for the spouse seeking maintenance will try to establish how the spouse's position today would be different had he or she not made sacrifices for the marriage.

However, if the couple lived frugally during the marriage, this fact alone will not serve as an argument to reduce the maintenance award.

‍The bottom line is that the needs analysis for maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis by the trial court, depending on the specific facts of each case.‍If one spouse is unable to be "financially independent" courts are likely to award maintenance.

The judge will add the amount of the yearly maintenance award derived from the first calculation to the gross income of the spouse receiving maintenance.

If this number equals more than 40% of the couple's combined gross income, the judge will reduce the maintenance award.Courts will not allow a spouse seeking maintenance to simply live off of the maintenance award if the individual is employable.​In determining the terms of maintenance in divorce, courts will consider whether the spouse seeking maintenance made career or education sacrifices during the marriage in order to perform domestic duties.‍Another factor that courts will consider is the time needed to obtain training or education, and whether employment or education may be inappropriate due to custody of children.If a spouse can be appropriately self-sufficient after education or training for a specific time frame, then rehabilitative maintenance for that time frame may be awarded.You should be aware that divorce courts are not required to follow the statutory guidelines for amount and duration of the maintenance award in every case in which the combined gross income is less than 0,000.00.However, if the judge chooses not to follow the statutory guidelines in these cases, the order in which maintenance awarded must lay out the amount and duration that the guidelines would call for and the judge's specific reason for departing for the guidelines.Courts will also use these factors to determine whether there is a reason to deviate from the statutory maintenance formulas and to determine maintenance awards for couples with a combined gross income in excess of 0,000.00.Below, we will elaborate on how divorce courts weigh each of these factors.‍Courts will ultimately consider the "net income" of each party, based on definitions found in two statutes: The Income Withholding for Support Act (750 ILCS 28/1, ) (the "IMDMA").For marriages longer than 20 years, the judge has discretion to order either permanent maintenance or maintenance for a number of years equaling the duration of the marriage.For marriages that lasted 20 years or less, the judge multiplies the number of years of the marriage by a specific percentage to determine the number of years that the maintenance payments will continue: ‍As discussed above, courts will assess several factors as a threshold issue to determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate at all.

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