How Illinois Divorce Laws Changed in 2019

How Illinois Divorce Laws Changed in 2019

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

In recent years, Illinois divorce laws have undergone numerous changes, from shifts in the way the Illinois Marriage Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) describes and allocates child custody (which is now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities), to the development of guidelines and formulas for determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

We know many of the recent changes to Illinois law have significant repercussions for individuals and families going through divorces in Cook County and Northeast Illinois. In particular, there were some significant divorce law changes in 2019 alone. Most notably, 2019 saw several changes to spousal maintenance calculations.

Our Illinois divorce lawyers want to discuss how Illinois divorce laws changed in 2019, and how those changes to the law ultimately could impact you.

Changes to Spousal Maintenance Calculations

Changes to federal tax law resulted in a shift in the way that alimony, or spousal maintenance, is taxed. As you may know, the paying spouse used to be able to deduct spousal maintenance from his or her income prior to paying taxes, while the receiving spouse was required to pay taxes on the alimony or spousal maintenance received as if it were income. With changes to federal tax law, the party responsible for paying taxes on spousal maintenance also changed: The paying party now must pay taxes on the amount while the receiving party does not pay taxes on maintenance received. In response, Illinois spousal maintenance calculations also shifted accordingly.

Rather than calculate spousal maintenance based on gross income, the calculation became based on net income. Further, the percentage of the parties’ incomes used in the calculations shifted. Prior to the change in the law, courts subtracted 20 percent of the receiving party’s gross income from 30 percent of the paying party’s gross income to determine the spousal maintenance amount. Now, courts subtract 25 percent of the receiving party’s net income from 33.3 percent of the paying party’s net income to determine the amount of support. The total maximum combined income for the guidelines to apply was also increased to $500,000.

Shift in Factors to Determine Maintenance

It was a relatively minor change, but the multiplying factors for determining the duration of maintenance changed slightly. The multiplying factors now increased every year (after 5 years of marriage) instead of increasing only every five (5) years.

Beyond the multiplying factors, the possibility of “permanent” spousal maintenance when a marriage lasts for 20 years or longer changed. Now, under the IMDMA, marriages lasting for 20 years or longer could see maintenance awarded “for an indefinite term.”

Learn More by Contacting Our Illinois Divorce Lawyers

If you have questions about how any of the changes to spousal maintenance laws will affect your divorce, or if you want more information about some of the changes to Illinois divorce law in the last few years, our Illinois divorce attorneys can assist you. Illinois family law has undergone sweeping changes in the past several years, and it is critical for anyone planning to file for divorce to understand how the IMDMA in 2021 will apply to your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today for more information about Illinois divorce laws and about the services we provide in Cook County.