Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Maintenance Statute in Illinois in 2015

(effective January 1, 2015)

Illinois law on alimony (or what we now call maintenance) is about to get about the biggest change in its history. Many are familiar with child support guidelines but now there will be spousal maintenance guidelines. The new guidelines, like child support, offer a mathematical calculation to apply to a situation to arrive at a dollar amount due for maintenance. Notably, I find the move toward a “one size fits all” approach to maintenance strange considering that the recent trend in child support awards has actually been to strive towards more flexibility. I expect some legislator with pull and an agenda was able to push this through the state assembly and got the governor to sign it.

In any event the new statute applies the following math: first determine 30% of the payor’s gross income and then subtract from that 20% of the recipient’s gross income and the result is the amount of maintenance. However, there is a cap that maintenance can not be more than 40% of the parties’ combined gross.

Apart from the amount of maintenance, the new statute also determine the length of maintenance ranging from as short as a few months to permanent maintenance or equal to the length of the marriage.

Also note that this will affect child support as well in the instance there are both minor children and a maintenance obligation. Child support is based on the payor’s net pay. Net pay is defined as all income from all sources minus allowed deductions. Allowed deductions include taxes, health insurance, union dues as well as few others and now will also include the amount of maintenance paid under the new statute.

Bottom line: there is a lot of information and tools here for you to consider. It is NOT here for you to rely on because even trained attorneys who concentrate in family law are wrestling with how this new statute will play out. If you are facing divorce and possible receiving or paying maintenance, get to knowledgeable attorney to ensure your rights are properly advanced.

Below I have more details and then a calculation sheet to run numbers

Summary and Worksheet:

Guideline maintenance applies when:
       1. The court finds maintenance appropriate;
       2. The parties’ combined gross income is under $250,000; and
       3. The parties do not support multiple families

Amount of Maintenance:

 Payor’s gross yearly income: _________________ x 30% (.30)   =   ______________________    
                                                                                                                      [ – subtract ]
Payee’s gross yearly income: _________________ x 20% (.20)   =   ______________________
                                    TOTAL yearly maintenance calculation:        _______________________
                                                                                                              Maintenance Calculation
Maintenance Cap Calculations:
_________________________   +   _____________________   =   _______________________      
Maintenance Calculated Above:        Payee’s Gross Income:              Maintenance and Payee Gross
 _________________________   +   _____________________   =   _______________________
Payor Gross Income                          Payee Gross Income                   Combined Income
                                                                                   x 40% (.40)   =   _______________________
                                                                                                               40% of Combined Income
 _________________________   –   _____________________   =   _______________________
Maintenance and Payee Gross          40% of Combined Income          Cap Reduction Amount

 _________________________   –   _____________________   =    ________________________
Maintenance Calculated Above        Cap Reduction Amount             Maintenance Cap Calc*
                                                                                                               *use if less than amount above

Duration of Maintenance:

Years                                       Duration
   1       x 20%  (.20)    =          .2 years
   2       x 20%  (.20)    =          .4 years
   3       x 20%  (.20)    =          .6 years
   4       x 20%  (.20)    =          .8 years
   5       x 40% (.40)    =         2 years
   6       x 40% (.40)    =          2.4 years
   7       x 40% (.40)    =          2.8 years
   8       x 40% (.40)    =          3.2 years
   9       x 40% (.40)    =          3.6 years  
* “Permanent Termination” - for marriages under 10 years, court can award “fixed  period” maintenance and bar extensions of maintenance after term expires
Years                                       Duration
   10     x 60% (.60)     =          6 years       
   11     x 60% (.60)     =          6.6 years
   12     x 60% (.60)     =          7.2 years
   13     x 60% (.60)     =          7.8 years
   14     x 60% (.60)     =          8.4 years
   15     x 80% (.80)    =          12 years
   16     x 80% (.80)     =          12.8 years
   17     x 80% (.80)     =          13.6 years
   18     x 80% (.80)     =          14.4 years
   19     x 80% (.80)     =          15.2 years
   20 or more years of marriage 
    THEN either  1) permanent maintenance or
     2) duration equal to years of marriage

 Note: Unallocated Maintenance must be by agreement except in a pre-decree temporary order

Portions of Statutory Language:

(b-1) Amount and duration of maintenance. If the court determines that a maintenance award is appropriate, the court shall order maintenance in accordance with either paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection (b-1):

(1)  Maintenance award in accordance with guidelines. In situations when the combined gross income of the parties is less than $250,000 and no multiple family situation exists, maintenance payable after the date the parties' marriage is dissolved shall be in accordance with subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph (1), unless the court makes a finding that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate.

(A) The amount of maintenance under this paragraph (1) shall be calculated by taking 30% of the payor's gross income minus 20% of the payee’s gross income. The amount calculated as maintenance, however, when added to the gross income of the payee, may not result in the payee receiving an amount that is in excess of 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.

(B) The duration of an award under this paragraph (1) shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies: 0-5 years (.20); 5-10 years (.40); 10-15 years (.60); or 15-20 years (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court, in its discretion, shall order either permanent maintenance or maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

(2) Maintenance award not in accordance with guidelines. Any non-guidelines award of maintenance shall be made after the court's consideration of all relevant factors set forth in subsection (a) of this Section.

*         *          *

(b-4) Unallocated maintenance. Unless the parties otherwise agree, the court may not order unallocated maintenance and child support in any dissolution judgment or in any post-dissolution order. In its discretion, the court may order unallocated maintenance and child support in any pre-dissolution temporary order.

(b-4.5) Fixed-term maintenance in marriages of less than 10 years. If a court grants maintenance for a fixed period under subsection (a) of this Section at the conclusion of a case commenced before the tenth anniversary of the marriage, the court may also designate the termination of the period during which this maintenance is to be paid as a "permanent termination". The effect of this designation is that maintenance is barred after the ending date of the period during which maintenance is to be paid.