The length of the marriage for the purpose of calculating maintenance is important in divorce cases in Illinois. The relevant statute provides that the length of the parties’ marriage is important for calculating how long maintenance should be paid. The relevant statute is instructive to the Courts, but there is some judicial discretion. The current statute indicates the length of the marriage is defined by the date of the marriage through the date the judgment for dissolution is entered. This is going to be modified.
As of January 1, 2016 this section is modified to indicate that the length of the marriage is defined as the date of the marriage through the date the petition for dissolution is filed. This means that the length of the marriage, for the purpose of calculating support, cannot keep accumulating once a divorce petition has been filed. The practical implications of these are difficult and yet to be determined until the Courts start applying this new law. It is yet to be determined what will happen in a situation where the divorce proceedings go on and on for years at a time. It is also yet to be seen how temporary support will factor in to this new law and if the temporary support will count against the allotted time frame for maintenance to be paid. If it is, it is possible that maintenance could be over with before the divorce is even finalized, where there is a shorter marriage and a long divorce process. It will be very interesting to see how the Courts interpret and utilize this revised rule.