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Changes in Modification of Maintenance (Alimony) Law

Amendments to Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Section 510, concerning changes in Modification of Maintenance (alimony) law


Part I: The Maintenance statute of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Section 510 was amended so as to take affect this January 1, 2016.  Maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is the right of one spouse to receive income from the other spouse.  This blog, which shall be published in several parts, seeks to create an understanding of the changes in Modification of Maintenance (alimony) law and what it means to an obligor.  This law affects all divorces happening in Illinois, including Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows and Palatine. These blogs will provide crucial information concerning the necessary act of modifying a maintenance obligation that has previously been set..


Section 750 ILCS 5/510 (a-5) states that an order for maintenance may be modified or terminated only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.  In all such proceedings, as well as in proceedings in which maintenance is being reviewed, the court shall consider the applicable factors set forth in subsection (a) of Section 504 and the following factors:

  1. any change in the employment status of either party and wither the change has been made in good faith;
  2. the efforts, if any, made by the party receiving maintenance to become self-supporting, and the reasonableness of the efforts where they are appropriate;
  3. any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of either party;
  4. the tax consequences of the maintenance payments upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
  5. the duration of the maintenance payments previously paid (and remaining to be paid
  6. The property, including retirement benefits, awarded to each party under the judgment of dissolution of marriage.
  7. The increase or decrease in each party’s income since the prior judgment or order from which a review, modification or termination is being sought;
  8. The property acquired and currently owned by each party after the entry of the judgment of dissolution of marriage, judgment of legal separation or judgment of declaration of invalidity of marriage; and
  9. Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.

The most import thing to remember when attempting to modify maintenance is that there must be a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties.  Thus, in a situation where there has been no change to either party, maintenance cannot legally be modified unless the parties agree to same.

In our next blog we will look closely at the factors that support a modification of maintenance.

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