On July 28, 2017, the Illinois Legislature passed House Bill 2537. If signed by the governor, this bill could have a significant impact on the way spousal maintenance payments are calculated. Currently, courts are directed to weigh a number of factors when determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate. In the event that a judge does decide to award alimony, the amount is dictated by a predetermined formula. Under the proposed law these formulas would be changed. Determining if and when spousal maintenance is appropriate can be extremely difficult, so if you are considering a divorce and have questions about whether you will be able to collect alimony, you should consider consulting with an experienced Rolling Meadows alimony and spousal maintenance attorney who can assist you.
Under current Illinois law, family law courts are instructed to implement a series of statutory guidelines to determine maintenance amount and duration. However, these guidelines only need to be applied when the combined income of the parties totals less than $250,000. The new version of the law changes this income threshold to a combined income of $500,000. When the parties’ combined income exceeds this amount, courts are not required to adhere to statutory guidelines and can make a decision regarding alimony by weighing a variety of factors, including:
- The income and assets of each party;
- Each party’s present and future earning capacity;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and physical condition of both parties;
- Whether one of the spouses made significant contributions to the other spouse’s career or education; and
- Any pre-existing agreements between the parties.
Duration of Payments
The amount of time that one party will be required to provide alimony is determined by multiplying the length of the marriage by a predetermined numerical factor that depends on the number of years that the couple were married. This means that payments will last for an amount of time that equals a percentage of the length of the marriage. For example, if a marriage lasted for five years or less, the length of the marriage will be multiplied by .20. Marriages lasting between five and nine years, on the other hand, will be multiplied by .40. If a marriage lasted 20 or more years, courts are instructed to order either permanent alimony or maintenance for a period of time that equals the length of the marriage.
Under the proposed law, the multiplying factors would be changed. For example, marriages of less than five years will be multiplied by a factor of .20, while marriages of five years will be multiplied by .24. The following changes will also be made:
- Six years (.28);
- Seven years (.32);
- Eight years (.36);
- Nine years (.4);
- Ten years (.44);
- Eleven years (.48);
- Twelve years (.52);
- Thirteen years (.56);
- Fourteen years (.60);
- Fifteen years (.64);
- Sixteen years (.68);
- Seventeen years (.72);
- Eighteen years (.76); and
- Nineteen years (.80).
For marriages of twenty years or more, maintenance will either be indefinite or for a period of time equal to the duration of the marriage. Essentially, the 2018 law would require maintenance payments for a shorter amount of time.
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To learn more about whether you are entitled to spousal maintenance after your divorce from a top rated alimony and spousal maintenance attorney, please contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today at 847-255-9925.