In previous posts we have highlighted some of the risks associated with delaying in filing for divorce. An additional risk that spouses, especially the “breadwinners”, should be aware of is that the timing of filing can significantly impact the amount of maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) that is paid. Under the formula, the duration of a maintenance award is calculated based upon the length of the parties’ marriage at the time of filing for divorce. The duration of maintenance jumps considerably for every 5 years of marriage. For example, under the formula the duration of a maintenance award for a 14-year marriage is 8 years and 5 months. For a 15-year marriage, though, the duration of a maintenance award is 12 years. Filing before one’s 15 year anniversary could save 3 years and 7 months of maintenance payments. The formula for maintenance is relatively new. It provides a way for calculating both the amount of maintenance as well as the duration. The Court is not required to apply the formula if the parties’ combined gross income is $250,000 or more, or if the paying spouse already has an obligation to pay child support or maintenance from a prior relationship. It is possible that a judge may decide to apply the durational aspect of the formula even though the parties’ combined gross income exceeds $250,000. If you have questions about Illinois divorce law, including issues related to maintenance, contact Illinois divorce attorney Tanya Witt at or call (312) 500-5400. The above blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a family law attorney regarding your specific rights.