Ex-Wife was to receive maintenance after the divorce. Ex-Husband’s job took a big downturn. He went to court to stop the maintenance payments. He based the termination on the change in his work status. Also, on his dwindling retirement accounts. He had been making over $500,000 annually. Now, he was making much less.
The trial court noted that Ex-Husband had not changed his standard of living. This would be expected if he had such a big job loss. The court also said that he had more opportunity to earn money in the future than Ex-Wife did. The trial court did somewhat reduce his maintenance obligation.
Ex-Husband had been maintaining his high lifestyle by taking money from his retirement accounts. The trial court included the amounts he took from his retirement accounts when it considered how much money he had.
The Appellate court said that the parties each waived any interest in the other party’s retirement accounts. It was wrong to consider a party’s retirement assets after the divorce.
The only way to consider the retirement accounts was if there was fraud, coercion or misrepresentation. In the case of such waiver, the court is not permitted to consider withdrawals from retirement accounts when deciding whether to modify maintenance.
In re Marriage of McLauchlan, 2012 IL App (1st) 102114.