Welcome to the "Practice Areas" section of our web site. These sections are designed to give you a quick overview of the various areas of law that you might have an interest in or might need to discuss with one of our attorneys. These topic areas are for discussion only and are not legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship between you and us. These are general statements about the law in Illinois in general. The law itself  and its application to your case can be very complex. Please contact our office today for a free initial consultation at one of our two convenient locations by clicking on the Contact Us link above or below, by calling us at (309) 674-5551 or by emailing me at Thank you for visiting our web site.  




Maintenance is the payment of money from the higher wage earning spouse to the lesser wage earning spouse. It is now based on a formula. However, you still need the best divorce attorney you can find because it makes all the difference in the world how the formula is actually applied and to know all of the nuances in the new statute to get the best result possible.


There are two basic parts to the new maintenance formula: Part one is the amount of maintenance. Part two is the duration of maintenance. As far as the amount, maintenance is now based on the gross income of both parties, with total income from all sources applied. The formula takes 30% of the gross income of the higher wage earner and subtracts 20% of the gross income of the lesser wage earner, to arrive at a yearly maintenance amount. For example, if the higher wage earner earned $100,000.00 per year and the lesser wage earner earned $20,000.00 per year, the formula would be ($100,000 x 30% equals $30,000 less $20,000 x 20% equals $4,000 for a total yearly maintenance amount of $26,000). That would be how the initial calculation would be made.


For duration, the formula is based on what we call "The Rule of Fives". The higher wage earner will pay maintenance based on the length of the marriage. It is as follows:

One to Five Year Marriage:             20% of the length of the marriage.

Five to Ten Year Marriage:              40% of the length of the marriage.

Ten to Fifteen Year Marriage:          60% of the length of the marriage.

Fifteen to Twenty Year Marriage:    80% of the length of the marriage.

More than Twenty Year Marriage:   Permanent or the same number of years of the marriage.


There are two other rules that apply: First, the above formula only applies if the combined gross income of both parties is less than $250,000 per year. Second, the income plus maintenance of the lesser earning spouse cannot exceed 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.


There are many other rules and provisions that apply. It is a highly complicated area of the law and requires an expert in family law like the attorneys at Murphy & Dunn, P.C.


For further information, please contact us by completing the Client Contact Sheet, by e-mailing us at, or by calling attorney G. Edward Murphy at 309.674.5551.