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Spousal Maintenance and Child Support Law Changes

Senate Bill 57, which was recently passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by the governor, will make significant adjustments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) beginning January 1 of next year. In addition to the changes to statutes governing divorce and custody, there have been notable changes to statutes governing support - including both child support and spousal support, or spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance

Senate Bill 57 makes certain changes to the factors that are to be used by the court when determining whether an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate in a divorce action. The bill now requires the court to consider any financial obligations arising out of the divorce, the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party and any impairment of that earning capacity, parental responsibility arrangements, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each party, as well as all sources of public and private income.

Senate Bill 57, which was recently passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by the governor, will make significant adjustments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) beginning January 1 of next year. In addition to the changes to statutes governing divorce and custody, there have been notable changes to statutes governing support - including both child support and spousal support, or spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance

Senate Bill 57 makes certain changes to the factors that are to be used by the court when determining whether an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate in a divorce action. The bill now requires the court to consider any financial obligations arising out of the divorce, the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party and any impairment of that earning capacity, parental responsibility arrangements, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each party, as well as all sources of public and private income.

Child Support

Senate Bill 57 makes changes to the way that child support can be provided for in divorce agreements. The bill now provides that, unless the agreement expressly states otherwise, provisions regarding child support - including provisions addressing support for children who are no longer minors - may be modified in amount, duration, or both if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

In addition, the new law provides additional guidelines regarding provisions for child support in the form of educational expenses for non-minor children. The law limits provisions for educational expenses to end upon a child's 23rd birthday. If there is good cause shown, educational expenses may be awarded up until a child's 25th birthday. The law also details specifics regarding the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), other financial aid forms, and provisions for support towards the cost of college applications. In terms of the actual educational expenses, those are now specified to include the actual cost of tuition and fees, housing expenses, meal plans, medical expenses, reasonable living expenses, books, and other supplies for high school, college, vocational, or professional education.

The law has also provided additional guidelines for support of non-minor children who are mentally or physically disabled. Support can be made by payments to one of the parents or to a trust for the benefit of the child. The statute now provides a list of factors that courts should consider when providing for the support of a non-minor child with a disability, including the present and future financial resources of both parties, the financial resources of the child, and any other financial or resource provided to the child.

Contact Our Attorneys for a Consultation Today

If you have questions about what these changes might mean for you and your family, contact our dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. We can provide you with a consultation on your case today.

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