Legal Memorandum: Purposes of rehabilitative maintenance and court’s consideration when terminating rehabilitative maintenance

Issue: Under Illinois law, what is the purpose of rehabilitative maintenance and what factors may a court consider when asked to terminate payment of rehabilitative maintenance?

Area of Law: Family Law, Litigation Practice & Procedure, Litigation Practice and Procedure
Keywords: ; Rehabilitative Maintenance; Terminate; Payment; Standard of Living
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

Rehabilitative maintenance is intended to provide a party "with the opportunity to adjust to nonmarital life and to provide herself with independent means of support." In re Marriage of Carpel, 232 Ill.App.3d 806, 828 (1992). But the party is not required to sell his or her assets in order to achieve financial independence. Id. And the goal of financial independence should be "balanced against a realistic appraisal of the likelihood that the spouse will be able to support herself in some reasonable approximation of the standard of living established during the marriage." Id.   Our supreme court has held that, when a marital settlement agreement provides for reviewable maintenance, the party seeking a modification does not bear the burden of proving a substantial change in circumstances to justify modification of maintenance. Blum v. Koster, 235 Ill.2d 21, 35-36 (2009). Instead, the trial court "ha[s] discretion to continue maintenance without modification, to modify or terminate maintenance, or to change the maintenance payment terms." Id. at 36. In exercising its discretion, the court should consider the factors in sections 504(a) and 510(a-5). Id.

Section 504(a) lays out 12 factors that the court should consider in awarding maintenance:

"(1)      the income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance;


(2)        the needs of each party;


(3)        the present and future earning […]

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