Oak Brook Divorce Lawyer Assists Clients With New Illinois Spousal Maintenance Guidelines

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Oak Brook divorce lawyer Kathryn L. Harry offers assistance to clients with the new Illinois public act (P.A. 98-0961) as it considerably changes how spousal maintenance is decided for Illinois couples with a combined gross income of less than $250,000.

Oak Brook Divorce Lawyer Kathryn L. Harry

Oak Brook Divorce Lawyer Kathryn L. Harry

“The new guidelines and formula should have a huge impact on maintenance awards for divorcing couples by offering more clarity and predictability with regard to the award amounts,” says Oak Brook divorce lawyer Kathryn L. Harry.

In August, Governor Quinn signed into law new spousal maintenance guidelines that significantly change how maintenance or alimony is determined in the state of Illinois.

Couples seeking an Illinois divorce whose combined gross income is less than $250,000 will be affected by the new Illinois public act regarding spousal maintenance guidelines. According to the Illinois General Assembly Illinois P.A. 98-0961 will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

The new law contains a formula for calculating spousal maintenance based on the gross income of the parties and the length of their marriage. Up until the adoption of the new guidelines, a Judge would make the determination of whether a spouse is entitled to maintenance based on the consideration of several relevant factors including: the income and property of each party, the needs of each party, the present and future earning capacity of each party, the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age and physical and emotional condition of both parties and numerous other elements as detailed within Section 504(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Additionally, a Judge decided the amount of maintenance and the span of time in which maintenance would continue.

Even under the amended Illinois maintenance guidelines, a Judge must first determine that a spouse is entitled to maintenance, utilizing the same factors the court would consider prior to the passing of the new law. Once the determination is made that maintenance is applicable, the court may apply the new maintenance formula to set the amount of support and the duration, which is established by a multiplication factor based on the years of marriage.

Under the new formula, a maintenance award should equal 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income, not to exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined gross income when added to the payee’s gross income. Additionally, the duration of spousal support shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by one of the applicable factors: 0-5 years (20 percent); 5-10 years (40 percent); 10-15 years (60 percent); or 15-20 years (80 percent). If the length of marriage exceeds 20 years, the court may order either permanent spousal maintenance or a duration equal to the length of the marriage. This guideline formula is only applicable when the gross combined income of both parties is under $250,000.

“The new guidelines and formula should have a huge impact on maintenance awards for divorcing couples by offering more clarity and predictability with regard to the award amounts,” says Oak Brook divorce lawyer Kathryn L. Harry of Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.. “However, plenty of unanswered questions about the new law and how it will be applied remain. It is for this reason we strongly recommend that anyone considering divorce or who is in the process of being divorced by their spouse contact an experienced divorce lawyer to assist them,” Harry adds.

The experienced Oak Brook divorce lawyers at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. work with clients who are facing divorce by helping them navigate the complicated divorce process as smoothly as possible. The DuPage divorce law firm is offering free initial consultations to discuss family law matters including questions or concerns regarding the new Illinois maintenance guidelines and how they will potentially impact your case. Call 630-472-9700 or fill out the online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.

The full text of Illinois public act (P.A. 98-0961) can be found here.

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