Wheaton, IL Alimony And Maintenance Attorneys
Spousal Maintenance Lawyers in DuPage County
An Illinois divorce judge must equitably divide marital property, so that the proceeding is not an unfair financial burden on either spouse. Although the state Legislature recently reworked the law, spousal maintenance is still an important part of this equation. Prior to 2015, a judge had almost unlimited discretion when setting the amount and duration of payments. The new Section 504 establishes set formulas in these areas, although a judge may deviate from the guidelines in certain situations.
The experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Judith Jenz can reduce, or eliminate, the negative financial consequences of a divorce or other family law proceeding. Attorney Judith Jenz routinely handles many cases in this area, regardless of the dollar amount involved. Our goal is a fair property division that upholds your legal and financial interests, and we are not satisfied with anything less than the best possible result.
Maintenance is not automatic, and the party requesting support must first convince the judge that it is necessary. In making this decision, the judge may consider many factors, including:
- Financial means and needs of each spouse;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Standard of living during the relationship;
- Any agreement between the parties; and
- Non-economic contributions to the marriage.
Additionally, the judge may consider "any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable." The court entertains evidence and arguments from both parties during this phase.
If the parties' combined gross income is under $250,000 the amount of maintenance is 30 percent of the obligor's gross income minus 20 percent of the obigee's gross income. The duration is a multiple based on the length of the marriage.
Assume that a couple is divorcing after a 12-year marriage. The husband works part-time and earns $20,000 per year, and the wife works full-time and earns $60,000 per year. In this scenario, the husband would be entitled to $16,000 ($20,000 minus $4,000) per year for 7.2 years (12 multiplied by .60). Typically, a judge orders this sum to be paid in monthly installments. Sometimes the obligor pays the court which then disburses funds to the obligee, but typically, the obligor pays the obligee directly.
Alteration and Termination
Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that cause a judge to reduce, or increase, either the amount or duration. In that case, the court uses the same analysis to set the financial terms as it used when considering whether or not maintenance was appropriate. This deviation must be supported by an affirmative finding based on the available evidence.
Support payments terminate if the obligee remarries or cohabitates with another person. The obligor's death also terminates payments; to lessen the financial blow to the obligee, the court may order maintenance payments to be secured by a life insurance policy. Either party may later request a modification based on changed circumstances.
Spousal maintenance is an important part of a divorce property settlement. For a confidential consultation in these matters, contact The Law Office Of Judith Jenz at 630-202-8842. After hours and weekend appointments are available.