There is a new family-law act that attempts to streamline the divorce process. Public Act 100-0520 takes effect in June of 2018 and makes changes to the Code of Civil Procedure and the Illinois Dissolution of Marriage and Marriage Act (IMDMA). This new act focuses on the language of the previous Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to make it applicable to all marriages and corrects an issue with spousal maintenance.
The first change that this act makes is to clarify language to ensure applicability to all marriages. It also expands the ability of a spouse to resume a prior name. This bill also ensures that if a minor’s name is to be changed all those with parental responsibility will be notified. The term “parental responsibility” is also new and is replacing the term “custody”. There will also be changes made directly to the IMDMA. These changes make it easier for divorcing parties to change their name. They will now have chance for a name change in the divorce judgment so new charges aren’t acquired by filing for it separately. This means that they will be able to resume using their previous name at any time. This is also where the wording becomes more gender-neutral. The word “previous” is used alongside “maiden” and “wife” is replaced with “person”. This ensures that the law will apply equally to same sex couples.
The biggest change that this act makes is to the calculation of spousal maintenance. Under the previous law, the duration of maintenance is calculated using a percentage of the total duration of the marriage. The duration chart began at 20 percent of the length of the marriage for marriages of fewer than five years, up to to 20 years of payments or lifetime payments, for marriages of 20 years or more. Under the prior law, someone filing for divorce at 5 years receives the same treatment as someone who has been married 8 but different than someone married 10 years, or even someone married 4 years and eleven months. Now, maintenance will be calculated with a duration for each year of marriage. Marriages of five years or less will be treated the same way that they are now (20% the length of the marriage), but maintenance for a couple that has been married 6 years will only last 24% the length of the marriage (down from 40% under the prior law.) and maintenance for a couple married 8 will last 36% the length of the marriage (again, down from 40%). This reduces the possibility of targeted divorce filing to get maximum benefits.
The law offices of McCarthy, Callas, & Feeney handle cases of family law and personal injury, among other cases. If you feel that you need a lawyer in any of these areas, please contact us at McCarthy, Callas, & Feeney so we can discuss your legal options moving forward. Please call 309-788-2800 to connect with a lawyer. The firm practices extensively in Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, as well as Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa.