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In late September, Governor Rauner signed off on amendments to Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) enacted by the legislature in June. Section 504 is the primary provision governing maintenance, or spousal support in dissolution actions. The amendments make three big changes, effective in June 2018.
First, the income threshold for the applicability of the formulaic approach to maintenance is raised to $500,000 from $250,000. In other words, rather than engaging in a multivariate analysis to determine maintenance where the parties’ combined annual incomes exceeds $250,000, the court will apply the mathematical formula prescribed by statute. In addition to alleviating the disparity between Illinois’ maintenance and child support statutes, this change may actually decrease maintenance paid in cases which fall under the new income threshold. At the very least, it provides for more parity and predictability in maintenance determinations for those cases involving a combined gross annual income under $500,000.
The second change affects how the term of maintenance is calculated. Currently, the term is determined by taking the length of the marriage times a multiplier proscribed in accordance with the length of the marriage. For example, maintenance for a 6 year marriage would endure 2.4 years or about 29 months (6 X 0.4 = 2.4). The current multiplier jumps 20% for each additional 5 years of marriage. The amended statute evens out this drastic jump, gradually increasing the multiplier for every 2 years of marriage. Judges still will have the discretion to award permanent maintenance for marriages over 20 years.
Finally, a new provision has been added which explicitly authorizes the court to provide the payor a credit for any temporary maintenance paid pursuant to 501 of the IMDMA. This credit can provide great relief to those paying temporary maintenance throughout potentially lengthy dissolution proceedings and removes the incentive for payee spouses to intentionally prolong litigation.
You can find the updated version of Section 504 here.
For answers to your questions about Illinois’ updates to the dissolution statute as well as any other domestic relations issues, don’t hesitate to contact the Nally Law Group today. We are ready to help.