Commencing January 1, 2015, a significant revision will take effect to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, for cases in which the parties’ combined gross incomes are less than $250,000.00, such that judges will no longer have the discretion to determine if a maintenance award is appropriate (and the amount and duration). Rather, Section 504 of the IMDMA (i.e., maintenance) will be determined pursuant to statutory guidelines in a two-part process.
First, the length of the maintenance will be determined by multiplying the length of the marriage by the following factor:
• 0-5 years = .2
• 5-10 years = .4
• 10-15 years = .6
• 15-20 years = .8
• 20 years or more, the court can either award permanent maintenance or, in the alternative, maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage.
Second, the amount of maintenance owed from the payor to the payee will be calculated at the rate of 30% of the payor’s gross income less 20% of the payee’s gross income with the amount being awarded to the payee to not exceed 40% of the parties’ combined gross, which includes the amount being awarded.
Note, guidelines must be applied in each case unless the court, just as with child support, makes a finding that a deviation from the statutory guidelines is appropriate given one or more relevant factors.
Litigants with divorce cases actively pending, as well as clients who anticipate filing, should pay close attention to the formula that will be implemented as it will enable parties to anticipate the minimum length of payment as well as the amount to be paid / received, thereby reducing litigation.