The parties divorced. They had three young children. Wife received a combination of child support and maintenance. This is done for tax purposes.
Child support terminated when the youngest child went to college. Wife was now awarded permanent maintenance.
Later, Husband filed a Motion to terminate the maintenance. The Husband had to prove a substantial change in circumstances had occurred. Since the order awarded Wife maintenance.
Husband said that he suffered from lymphoma. His salary had been reduced. He was planning to retire soon.
The Trial Court said that a substantial change in circumstances had occurred. The Trial Court granted Husband’s petition.
Wife appealed. The Appellate Court reversed the Trial Court.
The Appellate Court said that Husband had an increased ability to pay maintenance. The court said that Husband had substantial income. His new wife paid for a number of his expenses. Including his mortgage.
Wife had delayed her education, training, employment, and career opportunities. For 17 years. Until the youngest was in college.
The court said that Wife had made good faith efforts toward financial independence. But, she did not have enough income. She could not provide for her own support. She could not keep in step with the standard of living established during the marriage.
Wife is entitled to maintain the standard of living established in the marriage. As long as the Husband has sufficient assets to meet his needs and the needs of his former spouse. Evidence showed that husband had such assets.
Husband had economic stability. Wife did not. So, maintenance should not have been terminated. The same outcome would be true if a former Husband were receiving maintenance from a former Wife.
In re Marriage of Bernay, 2017 IL App (2d) 160583, July 19, 2017.