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Illinois Makes Radical Change in Alimony Law

The governor of Illinois has signed a new law which will be effective Jan 1, 2015. Whether the law favors the payee or payee depends on the circumstances of the case. The Law Firm of Kulerski and Cornelison in Oak Brook IL is ready to help their clients figure out all the nuances of this new radical law.

Illinois has a new alimony law which goes into effect on January 1, 2015. The governor has signed the bill into law, and it is official.

The term “Alimony” was the legal word for spousal support until 1977, when the Illinois Divorce Act underwent a major overhaul. Spousal support was renamed “Maintenance” at that time. For the sake of understandability, this article uses the word “Alimony” when referring to Maintenance and spousal support.

Kulerski notes, “The new law changes things profoundly, and will affect many soon-to-be ex-spouses. Whether it favors the payer or the payee depends on the circumstances of each individual case.”

The basic framework of how Illinois has historically determined alimony entitlement has not changed. However, new language has been added to the statute which creates a set of specific income percentage guidelines for the court to follow. This is intended to streamline things and to avoid inconsistent alimony awards. The use of statutory guidelines has been used to determine child support in Illinois since 1984, but they are brand new to Alimony.

It is believed that the use of such guidelines will give judges an objective way to decide the amount and length of alimony awards, and will help divorcing spouses during their settlement negotiations by giving them realistic expectations as to how a judge will rule.

How much the alimony will be

The new guidelines are based on a mathematical formula, which takes into account the gross incomes of both spouses.

In its simplest form, the amount of alimony to be awarded will be calculated by deducting 20% of the payee’s gross income (from all sources) from 30% of the payer’s gross income (from all sources). However, the amount to be paid cannot exceed 40% of the payer and payee’s total gross incomes.

For example, if the payer’s total gross income is $150,000 per year, and the payee’s gross income is $30,000 per year, the amount of alimony to be paid is $39,000 per year ($45,000 minus $6,000). The 40% rule is not a factor because 40% of the spouses’ total gross incomes is $72,000, which is higher than $39,000.

It must be noted that the new law will only apply to couples whose combined gross incomes are less than $250,000 per year, and in circumstances where multiple families are not involved (i.e., there is no existing obligation to pay support because of a prior relationship).

How long the alimony will be paid

To determine the duration of the alimony award, you’ll need to multiply the length of the marriage by the appropriate percentage. That percentage varies based on how long the marriage lasted.

For marriages of 20 years or more, the court can either order permanent maintenance or, alternatively, maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

The court is mandated to follow the guidelines unless it makes a number of specific Findings to justify its deviation.

This is not legal advice, and it is not intended to be an authoritative or complete explanation of the new law. It is merely intended to highlight the major changes in the new law, and does not include some of its terms, nuances and/or exceptions. Please contact the Law Firm of Kulerski and Cornelison in Oak Brook IL at the website address below for assistance.

Contact Info:
Name: J. Richard Kulerski
Phone: 630-928-0670
Organization: Law Firm of Kulerski and Cornelison


Release ID: 65761

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