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Understanding the Changes to Illinois Spousal Support Laws

 Posted on April 24, 2018 in Spousal Support

Lombard family law attorneyIn September of last year, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure that amended several laws related to divorce in the state. The two biggest changes pertained to the calculation of spousal support, or maintenance, as it is formally known in Illinois. The law went into effect on January 1, 2018, so if you have recently filed for divorce, it is important for you to know how your case may be affected.

New Income Guidelines

For several years, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has provided a formula by which a divorce court is expected to calculate how much maintenance should be paid in a particular case. The formula is a weighted function of each spouse’s annual gross income designed to offer extra support in situations where one spouse makes substantially less than the other. Specifically, the law states that the amount of maintenance to be paid is found by taking 30 percent of the payor’s income and subtracting 20 percent of the recipient’s income, as long as the maintenance plus the recipient’s income did not exceed 40 percent of the couple’s combined income.

Prior to this year, the formula applied to divorces where the couple’s combined gross annual income was $250,000 or less and neither spouse had prior maintenance or child support obligations from a previous relationship. For couples who made more than $250,000, the court was permitted to decide on a reasonable amount to be paid based on a consideration of many circumstantial factors related to the marriage and divorce.

The amendment that took effect on January 1 raised the income threshold to $500,000 per year. This means that the formula is to be used in a larger number of cases.

New Scale for Maintenance Duration

The other big change was the amendment of the tables used by the court to determine how long a maintenance order should last. Before this year, the courts used a weighted scale that set the duration for maintenance as a percentage of the length of the marriage. For example, a support order issued for a marriage that lasted for more than five years but less than 10 years would remain in place for a period equal to 40 percent of the marriage’s duration. For a marriage of 10 years but less than 15 years, the percentage was 60 percent.

This year’s changes changed the tables to eliminate drastic jumps at each five-year interval. The base percentage is now 20 percent for marriages lasting less than five years, and the percentage goes up by four points for each year of marriage beginning at five. For example, 24 percent of the duration of the marriage for a five-year marriage and 28 percent for a six-year marriage. At 20 years, the court has the option to award maintenance for “a period equal to the length of the marriage or for an indefinite term.

Call Us for Help

As you can see, the law in Illinois regarding spousal support can be complicated, but an experienced Lombard family law attorney can help you make sense of it. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today. We will provide the guidance you need throughout every step of the divorce process.




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