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Modification of Maintenance: Retirement Benefits

Modification of Maintenance: Retirement Benefits

Palatine and Arlington Heights divorce lawyer, James Kelly, further explains the Amendments to Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Section 510, concerning modification of maintenance.
Part VII

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 as to how the new modification of maintenance statute will operate and what it means to an obligor. This law affects all Illinois divorces including Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows and Palatine, Illinois. 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-6) provides several factors for the courts to consider when determining if a modification of maintenance request is proper or not. The sixth factor is:
(6)“the property, including retirement benefits, awarded to each party under the judgment of dissolution of marriage, judgment of legal separation, or judgment of declaration of invalidity of marriage and the present status of the property;”

This factor looks specifically at what the parties received as party of the settlement or adjudication by the judge. This factor is of extreme importance as the parties enter their retirement years. When parties approach the age of retirement, they can begin to receive the retirement benefits that were awarded them during the divorce. Thus, if there is a pension that is divided such that each party will begin to receive $2,500.00 per month at the time of their reaching retirement age, the court can take this into account when determining if maintenance should continue. Likewise, if the parties have divided a 401(k) such that at the generally accepted retirement age of 67 then the judge can consider whether the 401(k) account is now enough to live on in retirement. This can be a very large consideration for a judge who must determine whether to discontinue maintenance at a point in time when the parties are of retirement age.

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