The duration of maintenance is based upon guideline factors. Prior to 2015 there wasn’t a statutory guideline and the judge just could make a determination and use their discretion. But now there is a guideline. For instance, in Illinois, if parties have been married five years or less, they get 20% of the time they’re married. If their parties are married more than five years, but less than 10 years, they would get 40% of the time they’re married. If the parties are married 10 years but less than 15 years, they would get 60% of the length of the marriage; if they’re married 15 years but less than 20 years, they would get 80% of the length of the marriage.
20 years and more is kind of the sweet spot where a party would receive what we call “permanent maintenance”, or it would be equal to the length of the marriage. If they’re married for 21 years, they would potentially receive maintenance permanently or for 21 years after the dissolution of marriage. The determination of how long the parties are married actually makes a big difference when you’re looking at those interim time periods. For example, the 10 or 11 years will make a big difference on how they will receive the maintenance.