Maintenance & Child Support

Maintenance & Child Support


Maintenance, commonly known as spousal support or alimony, is support paid from the spouse who earns a higher income, to his or her former spouse to help the former spouse sustain his or herself similar to the standard that he or she was accustomed to during the course of the parties’ marriage.  Effective January 1, 2019, Courts now use a new formula based on the length of the marriage and the income of each person, to determine how much support to order.

Unlike child support, maintenance is not a right, but is evaluated by the Court on a case by case basis.  In making a determination on whether an order for maintenance is appropriate, a Judge will consider:

  • Any agreements between the parties;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s present earnings and future earning abilities;
  • How much income and property each spouse has;
  • Whether a spouse is also paying child support;
  • The couple’s standard of living during the course of the marriage;
  • The time each spouse spent doing household duties and contributions;
  • Each’s spouses’ needs; and
  • How much time it would take for the spouse needing support to get a job or the training and education necessary to get a job.

Maintenance can either be temporary or permanent. A judge will usually award permanent support only for marriages that have lasted for at least 20 years. In shorter marriages, a judge will generally award temporary support.


On July 1, 2017, the formula for calculating child support changed in Illinois.  Domestic relations courts now use a Shared Income model, which takes BOTH parent’s income into account, to determine child support.  The old method calculation for child support was based on a percentage of the obligor’s (paying parent’s) income.

Parents are typically obligated to support their children until they reach the age of 18 but a Court may take other facts into consideration when making a determination on whether to increase or decrease an order for child support, such as:

  • A parent paying child support for children of another relationship in another case;
  • Caring for a child with special needs, or
  • A child getting married or moving out of the obligee’s (parent’s receiving child support) home.

Judges also have enforcement powers that allow them to reinforce orders of the Court when a parent does not comply with a child support order.  A Judge may incarcerate an obligor who refuses to pay child support.  In the event of a financial hardship, such as job loss, a Judge may decrease a child support order if he or she finds that a substantial change in circumstances warrants a change in the amount.

Whether you are paying or receiving child support or maintenance, Adetola Law can counsel you on your rights and obligations, and will calculate, negotiate, and if necessary, litigate a support order that is just and fair.