Last 2017, Illinois passed HB 2537, which amends portions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). While the new bill enacts a variety of minor changes to the IMDMA, you're probably wondering, "How will this affect me in the long run?"
Just one word: Maintenance.
There are two significant changes enacted by HB 2537 which will impact maintenance awarded in Illinois divorce cases: 1) an increase in income threshold, and 2) a new schedule of multiplying factors for determining the duration of maintenance.
What do these changes mean? We'll break it down for you below.
2018 Changes to Maintenance
1. Increase in Combined Income Threshold
Prior to the implementation of HB 2537, the combined gross income threshold for Illinois families was $250,000. The new Illinois family law raises that value to $500,000.
Why does that matter to Illinois families?
Before 2018, standardized Illinois maintenance guidelines applied to divorce cases where the family's combined gross annual income was below $250,000. Families who made below $250,000 each year could follow standard Illinois guidelines, which streamlined the process of calculating maintenance. On the other hand, families whose combined gross income exceeded $250,000 often faced a more complex divorce process.
Because the new law raises the income threshold to $500,000, more Illinois families can now follow standardized guidelines when calculating maintenance.
2. A Granular Schedule for Determining Maintenance Duration
One of the most important factors when determining maintenance is duration -- the length of time maintenance is awarded. In most cases, duration can be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage with a specific multiplying factor which is determined by Illinois maintenance laws.
The previous Illinois schedule had one multiplying factor for each block of five years. This is flawed in several ways.
First of all, the difference of few days often meant an entirely different multiplying factor and a significantly lower duration. An individual filing for divorce in the last month of their fourth year of marriage would receive a considerably shorter duration than someone filing in the first month of their fifth year.
Additionally, a year is a significant amount of time, and the previous schedule failed to account for the importance of each year of marriage.
The new Illinois schedule eliminates these flaws, by offering multiplying factors based on each individual year rather than blocks of five years.
What You Should Know About New Illinois Maintenance Laws
Due to the significant changes enacted by HB 2537, individuals who are seeking divorce in 2018 face a different set of guidelines when calculating maintenance.
Previously, we offered a 2015 - 2017 Illinois maintenance calculator, which you can still find here.
To keep you updated on current Illinois family laws, we have provided links to the following:
Contact DuPage Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Regardless of which laws are involved, each divorce case is unique. As such, the maintenance calculator and information we offer in this article can give you a fair estimation of what you can expect from your divorce, but other factors may ultimately influence your case. Oftentimes, consulting with an experienced family law attorney can be the best way to form expectations for a divorce. In that regard, we at Dolci & Weiland gladly offer our assistance.
We understand that divorce will always be a stressful process for everyone involved. A quality attorney can often lessen your stress and help you make informed decisions you can feel confident in. With over 26 years of legal practice, our knowledgeable and dedicated attorneys can advocate for your interests and offer you the support you and your family need. For any questions, or to take the next step and schedule a free divorce consultation, give us a call at (630) 261-9098.