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New Illinois law on child support, dissipation of marital assets

A new Illinois law on the terms of child support following a divorce will take effect on January 1. The law, Public Act 97-941, sets clear timetables for the procedure for holding a former spouse accountable for "dissipation" of marital funds. It also clarifies the authority of the court to order the payment of expenses such as child care and education

This new law will be involved in many Rockford child support cases.

Dissipation is a multisyllabic, legal-sounding word. As we explained in our previous post, it refers to using property that belonged to both spouses and using it inappropriately for non-marital purposes - such as lavish spending on a new girlfriend or boyfriend.

Under Public Act 97-941, a party who intends to claim dissipation must file notice of that by a certain time. The filing must be no later than 60 days before the trial date or, alternatively, 30 days after the end of the discovery period in the divorce action - whichever is later.

The new law also provides specifics on the information to be included in such a notice. There must be an identification of the property in question and details about dates or time periods when dissipation allegedly occurred and the marriage began breaking down.

The dissipation law contains a time-limiting provision as well for challenging dissipation in the past. Claims for dissipation can go back no more than five years before the divorce petition was filed or three years after the party alleging dissipation knew or should have known about it.

The other aspect of Public Act 97-241 concerns court authority to issue orders to one or both divorcing parties to make payments for various expenses beyond statutorily required child support. These expenses can include health costs not covered by insurance, child care and educational expenses, as well as extracurricular activities.

Source: "New Illinois Laws for 2013," Poli Chi, Barb Moreno, 12-28-12
Additional source: "ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of August 16," Illinois State Bar Association

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