Rehabilitative / Reviewable Maintenance
Most maintenance awards are not permanent. Instead, they will be reviewed by the court after a certain amount of time has passed. This type of fixed-duration maintenance is known as reviewable or rehabilitative maintenance. The terms “reviewable maintenance” and “rehabilitative maintenance” are often used interchangeably.
The purpose of rehabilitative maintenance or reviewable maintenance is to allow the recipient an opportunity, over a period of time, to become financially self-sufficient. The duration of reviewable or rehabilitative maintenance may be based upon the amount of time needed for the children to reach school age, for the recipient to obtain adequate job training or education, or for any number of other factors.
The importance of hiring a skilled and knowledgeable attorney cannot be overstated. An award of reviewable maintenance often means that the parties will return to court in the future to determine whether maintenance should be extended, modified, or terminated. A good attorney will make sure you are advised as to who bears the burden of petitioning the court at the end of the review period. In some cases, the spouse paying reviewable maintenance may be required to petition the court to terminate his or her obligation. In other cases, the spouse receiving reviewable maintenance may be required to petition the court to extend the support obligation. If the party who bears the burden fails to take action in a timely manner, reviewable maintenance might be either automatically terminated or extended, depending on the specific provisions of the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
When reviewing a case to determine whether or not reviewable maintenance should be extended, modified, or terminated, Illinois law requires the courts to consider all of the factors considered at the time of the divorce. Additionally, the courts may consider the following factors, as well as any other factor the court may deem appropriate:
- Whether there have been any changes in either party’s employment status
- Whether any changes in employment status were made in good faith
- The efforts the maintenance recipient has made at becoming financially self-supporting since the divorce
- The impairment of the present earning capacity of either party
- The impairment of the future earning capacity of either party
- The tax consequences of ongoing maintenance payments to each of the parties
- The duration of payments maintenance previously made in relation to the length of the marriage
- The property awarded to each party under the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage
- Whether there has been any increase or decrease in either party’s income
- Whether there has been any property acquired after entry of the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage
Although the above factors are considered, the amount and duration of reviewable maintenance is assessed on a case-by-case basis. No single factor is determinative on its own. Whether you are paying or receiving reviewable maintenance, a skilled attorney will make sure that the court is presented with all relevant information in a manner that is clear, concise, and persuasive. The lawyers at Kollias & Giese, P.C. take the time to assess all of the relevant facts of their clients’ cases, and present their clients’ cases in the best possible light under the circumstances. Contact the firm to obtain a better understanding of your potential rights and obligation.