Under the most recently revised provision of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (or, the “IMDMA”) there are specific time frames in which an obligor will have to pay maintenance to an obligee, and it all hinges on the length of the parties’ marriage. Most commonly, I am asked how the length of a marriage is determined for the purpose of paying spousal support. Under the most recent revision of the IMDMA, the date that the marriage “ends” for the purpose of calculating the length of time maintenance will be paid is the date the case is filed. So, if someone believes they will have to pay maintenance to a spouse, they should file the case as soon as possible. If someone believes they will be receiving maintenance, conversely, they should not be in any rush to file the Petition for Dissolution, as it is in their best interests to wait longer, so as to lengthen the length of their “marriage” for the purpose of maintenance.
The length of the payments depends entirely on the length of the marriage. Once the petition is filed, the length of the marriage is multiplied by the multiplier for that specific marriage length as set forth in 750 ILCS 5/504 of the IMDMA. This gives the length of time in which the maintenance will be paid.