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Divorce Maintenance and Change in Income


Divorce Maintenance and Change in Income

Palatine and Arlington Heights divorce lawyer, James Kelly, further explains divorce maintenance and change in income regarding 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 divorces happening in Illinois, 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-7) provides several factors for the courts to consider when determining if a modification of maintenance request is proper or not. The seventh factor is:

(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;”

This factor considers any significant changes in the circumstances of the parties as to their incomes since entry of Judgment for Dissolution of marriage.  This factor often comes up when a party is now earning more money or less money than they were when the divorce was finished, ie when the judge signed the final judgment for dissolution of marriage.  The Judge could readjust the maintenance using the new formula as was discussed in prior blog pages.  However, if a party purposely quits a good paying job so as to work a lower paying job just to avoid paying a maintenance obligation, then the judge may not change the maintenance amount as a result of the requesting parties ‘bad faith’ in changing jobs.  There is case law that affirms this.  However, since maintenance is now determined by taking 30% of the payor’s income and 20% of the payee’s income, any increases in the payee’s income will also be taken into account.  This is of great importance as the ex-spouse obtains better employment, raises and promotions.


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