What’s new in Illinois spousal maintenance law?

The flow of information each person in Illinois endures on a daily basis is monumental. At times a person may feel like the bears you see in nature shows that stand in rushing white water trying to catch a salmon. Some bears are lucky and get what they’re after. Most big fish get away.

At the start of this year, something happened in our state that might have escaped the attention of many people. Maybe it got lost in the deluge of political news. We suspect it just wasn’t on many people’s radar. To remedy the situation, we offer today’s post on the issue of spousal support.

You may know this by its more traditional term, alimony. This year, with the enactment of the newest Dissolution of Marriage Act, nearly everyone entering into or getting out of a marriage situation is affected. Parties formerly referred to as husbands and wives are now spouses. What used to be child custody is now “allocation of parenting time and responsibility.”

In the area of spousal maintenance, the big change is how the levels of support are determined. The formula is not easy. If support is appropriate, the law allows an award equal to 30 percent of the payer’s gross income. However, that’s reduced by an amount equal to 20 percent of the receiver’s gross income. And the total award is not supposed to be greater than 40 percent of the combined gross income of the two parties.

Some observers say the law offers the hope of easing the emotional aspect of divorce. That may hold true for many facets of the process, but those with experience in the field know that where an exchange of money is involved, coming to terms and enforcing those terms can be challenging. It’s important to have qualified counsel with you.

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