Does it matter when you file for divorce?
Does it matter when you file for divorce? Yes, in a divorce case involving maintenance, the filing date of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Illinois may impact the term of the maintenance award. Effective January 1, 2015, Illinois adopted “guidelines” for maintenance (otherwise known as alimony or spousal support) awards. In a case where one party may be a maintenance recipient, the filing date of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage can be extremely important. That is because the maintenance guidelines provide for a term of maintenance that depends on the length of the marriage calculated as the period from the date of the marriage to the date of filing of Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
The guidelines are applicable once it has been determined that a maintenance award to one of the spouses is appropriate, and the guidelines apply to situations where the combined gross income of both parties is less than $500,000 and there is not a multiple family situation.
The length of the marriage pursuant to the guidelines for maintenance is determined based upon the date a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed.
As such, if someone is contemplating divorce and approaching an anniversary, he or she should certainly be mindful of this issue.
The length of the marriage for other purposes under Illinois law may differ. For example, in Illinois marital property continues to accrue until a final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is entered (in other words, after a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed and until the divorce is granted) pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/503.