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For Illinois residents contemplating divorce this year, recent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) regarding spousal maintenance may prove a hot topic of discussion with your qualified divorce attorney.
As of January 1, 2015, couples opting for divorce in Illinois will be subject to new standardized rules for calculating the amount and length of court-ordered spousal support or alimony payments. Although this amendment adds a new legal narrative to the financial responsibility of one spouse to another, currently there are no changes in how the court determines whether or not financial support is required.
When entering into the divorce process, both spouses should familiarize themselves with the Illinois Marriage Act to be better equipped to discuss all facets of Illinois family law with their respective divorce attorney, especially when it comes to receiving a fair and equitable outcome when considering financial security.
To gain a better understanding of the support amendment, the following should be taken into consideration.
Calculating Spousal Maintenance
The new ruling affects primarily those couples with a combined household income of $250,000 or less. Factors, such as children from a previous marriage, are also taken under advisement.
With these new mathematical guidelines, there is less subjectivity of those presiding over the divorce case who may be influenced by personal background or life-related experiences.
The court must permit the use of income percentages of each Illinois spouse as well as factoring the length of the marriage to be taken under consideration. When this formula is applied, the court will be able to objectively reach a fair determination of both the amount of spousal and child support awarded as well as the length of the support. This alleviates the likelihood of appeals litigation, assists with the equitable management of divorce attorney fees and overall, decreases the stress level of the divorcing couple.
One cautionary note, however, is that the court is not obligated to follow the new mathematical formula approach and if not used, the court will need to clearly define as to why the formula was not applied.
Divorce is difficult, especially when it comes to reaching a fair and equitable determination regarding spousal support. If you have questions regarding the new amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, contact the skilled Hinsdale family law attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio to schedule your free consultation today.