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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102381
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Illinois. I have a question regarding Maintenance payments.

Customer Question

Hello Pearl,
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Illinois. I have a question regarding Maintenance payments. There was a new law enacted January 1st of 2015 that does a mathematical equation for awarding maintenance. I was curious if "earning potential" could still play a role.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Yes, the dissolution of marriage is complete. I had a lawyer tell me that this is just how the system works now but I pay an awful lot to an ex who could make 60-80k a year with the two degrees she has but decides to be a school nurse making 25k a year. It maximizes her maintenance earnings.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am going to assume that you are talking about P.A. 98-0961. This essentially reduces maintenance to a formulaic equation, as opposed to using subjective factors as the Courts did before. Under this law, the maintenance award would equal thirty percent of the paying party's gross income minus twenty percent of the receiving party's gross income, not to exceed forty percent of the parties’ combined gross income when added to the receiving party's gross.

Earning potential is not a part of the formula. Meaning, it does not factor into the maintenance.

The only exception is if the Judge believes that the paying party is underemployed on purpose. If so, the Judge can at discretion raise the amount to what the Court believes the paying party can/should be making in the calculation.

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