Maintenance/Spousal Support and the “filing date” Issue

Under 750 ILCS 5/504, maintenance is calculated pursuant to a certain formula, unless the parties earn over $250,000 gross per year.  Then, the Judge has discretion to award a reasonable sum of maintenance, under the circumstances.  Interestingly, though, there is an issue which has arisen regarding when the marriage “ends” for the purpose of calculating spousal support.  The statute specifically lays out one formula for calculating the dollar amount of maintenance, and another for calculating how long the maintenance should be paid for, depending upon the length of the marriage.


Under the most recent revised version of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the length of the marriage is defined as the date of the marriage through the date that the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed.  This time frame constitutes the length of the marriage for the purpose of determining how long maintenance will be paid for.  Some people confuse this with the valuation date of the marital estate.  The valuation date of the marital estate is the date the judgment for dissolution is entered.  So, while a divorce is pending, the marital estate can grow or shrink, but the duration of which a person has to pay maintenance won’t fluctuate.

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