New Illinois Alimony Rules Signed Into Law

spousal support, maintenance, Illinois divorce lawyer, Hinsdale family law attorney, On August 15, Governor Quinn signed into law new alimony rules that will drastically change how support is determined in divorce cases in Illinois. The new rules will become effective on January 1, 2015 and all divorce cases filed after that date will be subject to the new laws.

Current Alimony Determination

Under the current alimony rules, the judge overseeing the pending divorce must first make a determination of whether one spouse is entitled to alimony using a set of factors found in section 504(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. These factors include:

  • The income and property of each spouse;
  • The needs of each spouse;
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • Age and physical condition of either spouse;
  • Other factors that the judge deems to be just and equitable.

If the judge decides that one spouse is entitled to alimony, the judge also has the discretion to determine how much and how long the alimony would continue. Under the current laws, there are no strict guidelines or framework by which the judge is required to set the terms for alimony, other than that the determination must be “reasonable.”

New Alimony Determination

Under the new law, alimony payments will be determined by a mathematical formula, similar to what is used in determining child support payments. Like the current law, a judge must first make a determination of whether one spouse is entitled to alimony payments. The same factors listed in 504(a) are used by the judge when making this determination. However, under the new law, once the decision is made, the judge must apply the alimony formula to set the amount, and the duration is set by a multiplication factor based on the years of marriage.

The new alimony formula only applies if the combined gross income of the spouses is less than $250,000. The alimony formula involves taking 30 percent of the payor spouse’s gross income minus 20 percent of the receiving spouse’s gross income. If the difference of those two amounts plus the receiving spouse’s gross income is less than 40 percent of the combined income of the spouses, the difference becomes the alimony payment. If the difference of those two amounts plus the receiving spouse’s gross income is more than 40 percent of the combined income of the spouses, the alimony payment will be reduced to equal 40 percent of the combined gross income of the spouses.

The new law also affects how long the alimony payments last by applying a multiplicative factor to the length of the marriage. Under the current law, the length of the maintenance is left to the discretion of the judge. Under the new law, the following formula applies:

  • For marriages lasting zero to five years, the factor is 0.20;
  • For marriages lasting five to 10 years, the factor is 0.40;
  • For marriages lasting 10 to 15 years, the factor is 0.60;
  • For marriages 15 to 20 years, the factor is 0.80; and
  • For marriages 20 years or longer, the court can order permanent maintenance or maintenance equal to the length of the marriage.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney Today

If you or someone that you know is considering a divorce and has questions about the new laws regarding alimony in Hinsdale or the DuPage County area, let the experienced Hinsdale family law attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio help. Contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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