If you are ordered to pay Illinois spousal maintenance and your ex-spouse remarries, the spousal support obligation ends. If an ex-spouse simply cohabitates outside of marriage with a new partner, the support obligation may be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. Because it is sometimes unclear whether a relationship is in fact cohabitation, the Illinois courts consider various factors to determine if a couple is legally cohabitating such as:
- How much time does an ex-spouse spend with their new partner? Do they have separate residences that both spend time at? Are there frequent overnight stays? Does the couple spend most of their time together?
- How long have the ex-spouse and their partner been in a relationship? Do they outwardly project themselves to be a married couple?
- How interwoven are the personal affairs of an ex-spouse and new partner? Do they have joint accounts, own joint property, or have joint debts? Do they share expenses?
- What activities does an ex-spouse and a partner engage in? Are they having most meals together? Do they run errands together such as groceries shopping or running pets to the vet? Do they perform household duties/home maintenance together? Are they vacationing together? Do they visit family or friends as a couple?
- Does an ex-spouse spend holidays with their partner? Do they spend holidays with their respective families as a couple? Do they spend holidays with children from previous relationships as a family unit?
A court will look at the situation in its entirety – a couple need not check off each factor to be cohabitating. Different courts may weigh more heavily on certain factors over others to decide if a relationship is in fact cohabitation. If evidence warrants a finding of cohabitation, a court may grant discovery – a legal process to obtain additional information including financial info – in order to make a cohabitation determination.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney for Help
If you have questions regarding the modification or termination of Illinois spousal maintenance due to cohabitation of an ex-spouse, contact the Libertyville family law offices of Ronald L Bell & Associates P.C. for additional information today.