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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."Financial independence" means that the spouse is able to continue the same standard of living that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.This goes beyond simply the ability to pay minimum expenses.In certain cases, courts are permitted to deviate from the statutory formulas, in which case the divorce court will use the statutory factors to determine the amount and duration of the maintenance award.In determining whether spousal maintenance is to be awarded, the divorce courts will assess the following factors.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.

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").Judges are instructed to apply the statutory formula in cases in which the couple's combined gross yearly income is less than 0,000.00 and in which neither spouse has children from a previous marriage.In cases in which the combined gross yearly income exceeds this amount, courts will have discretion to determine the amount and duration of the maintenance award by weighing the factors listed above.‍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.

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