This marriage lasted 29 years. The Appellate Court said that the Wife’s award of rehabilitative maintenance in the amount of $2,750 per month for 30 months was wrong. Wife should have been awarded permanent maintenance. It should have been in an amount sufficient for her to maintain the lifestyle the parties enjoyed during the marriage. The new maintenance law did not apply to this case. But, the court compared what the new law would have provided for Wife in its analysis.
The new law provides guidelines. It is similar in some ways to determining child support. For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court has the discretion to order either permanent maintenance or maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage.” Therefore, if that provision were applicable, under the facts of this case, the court would have been required to order either permanent maintenance or maintenance for a period of almost 29 years. This is a stark contrast to the 2½ years of maintenance awarded in this case.
The Court analyzed all twelve statutory factors for determining maintenance. The sixth factor is the standard of living established during the marriage. The trial court felt that the parties’ standard of living during the marriage was not lavish. That depends on how one defines lavish. To someone trying to live on Wife’s original maintenance award in this case, the parties’ lifestyle during the marriage would seem lavish. They enjoyed an 8,000-square-foot home on a golf course in a prestigious neighborhood. They took expensive vacations. They paid $2,000 per month for son’s college tuition, car, and gas. They stayed, and entertained, at the Ritz Carlton. They had Rolex watches and other fine jewelry. The amount and duration of the maintenance award in this case would leave Wife in a situation where she could not come close to keeping up that lifestyle. This factor weighs in favor of a permanent and substantial maintenance award.
In re Marriage of Johnson, 2016 IL App (5th) 140479
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