In 2016, Illinois put new spousal maintenance, or alimony, guidelines into place. These new guidelines were built to help make the formulas used by family court judges across the state uniform when it comes to spousal maintenance.
Before this change, a judge had complete discretion when it came to determining the proper maintenance amount awarded in a case. This led to maintenance rewards that largely varied, even for similar divorce situations. As such, Naperville divorce lawyers are tasked with understanding these changes to state guideline.
In addition, the new guidelines also determined that in some cases, the court would be allowed to designate a permanent termination date for the maintenance. This made it where, in those cases, a spouse could not choose to ask for additional maintenance after the date passed. However, fixed-term support was only made possible in cases involving marriages which lasted for less than ten years.
Despite the new guidelines, a judge is still in charge of determining whether maintenance is appropriate. This is based on guidelines in Section 504(a) in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Some of the factors used to determine this include the length of the marriage, income of the spouses, standard of living while married, each person’s property ownership, and the ability of each party to earn a living now and in the future.
The court uses a specific mathematical formula to determine the number of maintenance payments when requesting spousal support. Then the years of marriage are used to determine the period for which maintenance will be required.
Before this change, judges were unable to terminate maintenance payments for a fixed term unless both parties involved gave consent. However, the payments ordered by the court were always available to be reviewed.
Now, family courts no longer require the consent of both parties when terminating fixed term maintenance payments. This is in effect in order to avoid unrequired legal action after what was a short marriage. After the fixed-term maintenance order has been drawn up, the person receiving payment may not ask for an extension of the court.
These rules will make it simpler for divorcing people to determine maintenance awards and anticipate required payments. In this state, a maintenance award may also be awarded as a temporary measure at the beginning of the case, but may change after the conclusion. In some cases, it may also be reviewed later or require changes.
To learn more about the new Illinois guidelines for spousal support, speak with one of the many Naperville divorce lawyers. Keller Legal Services provides insight and would be happy to schedule you for a free consultation. You can reach the office at 630-868-3093.