IRMO Heroy, 2017 IL 120205 (March 23, 2017), will prove to be a critical case regarding what is commonly considered as the duty to of a maintenance recipient to “rehabilitate” — to seek appropriate employment. It provides lasting guidance that in cases involving significant cash flow for the payor and a lavish lifestyle that the efforts to seek employment must be viewed in the context of the dent that could potentially be made in contributing toward that lifestyle. The failure to seek appropriate employment cannot be used as a penalty where it is clear that whatever steps were taken that they could not place the recipient in a position consistent with the marital lifestyle.
The specific Section 510(a-5) factor in this regard to be used in cases of maintenance reviews, modification, etc., is: “(2) the efforts, if any, made by the party receiving maintenance to become self-supporting, and the reasonableness of the efforts where they are appropriate.” The case holds that this factor per Section 510(a-5)(2) is but one factor to the court to consider.
The former husband urges that the court failed to properly considered his ex-wife’s efforts to seek adequate employment. The opinion sets up the issue this way: