Living With Your New Partner Will Likely End Spousal Maintenance

 Posted on March 16, 2016 in Spousal Maintenance

spousal support, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are receiving spousal maintenance, you probably know—or, at least, assume—that your former spouse’s financial obligations to you will end in that event you ever get remarried. It only makes sense. When you get remarried, you become financially interdependent with your new spouse, all but making your ex all but irrelevant—children’s needs notwithstanding. Depending on your situation and your desires, however, you may be inclined to shy away from marriage for a time after your divorce, as your last formal commitment may have soured you a bit on the institution. As an alternative to getting married, you may decide to move in with your new partner, but you should know that, in most cases, cohabitation is grounds for ending spousal maintenance as well.

Growing Trend

Evolving social mores and more liberal views on interpersonal relationships have led to an increasing number of unmarried couples living together. Many choose the arrangement as a precursor to marriage, while others are content to remain cohabiting indefinitely. While sociologists and religious authorities continue to debate the morality of cohabitation, legal systems around the country have been forced to contend with the changing concepts of household and family.

The Law Regarding Cohabitation

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, your rights to spousal maintenance end when you cohabit “with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.” If you are found to be living with your new partner in a relationship that meets the provisions of the law and have continued to receive maintenance, you will probably be required to reimburse your ex-spouse. Case law over the years has made it clear that a normal roommate arrangement would not jeopardize your eligibility for continued maintenance. On the other hand, what most people consider “living with their girlfriend or boyfriend” would almost certainly be seen by the court as justification for ending support.

Of course, there is a nearly limitless gray area in between that could present various challenges for a court. For example, the existence of a sexual relationship is neither enough to force such a determination, nor is it required for a court to find that maintenance should be terminated. The overall relationship between the partners is more important, including shared finances, household duties, and whether they behave as a married couple, subjective though it may be.

Let Us Help

Before making a decision about moving in with your new partner, you need to fully understand the possible effects of your choices. Contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today and get the answers you need to put your mind at ease. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule a confidential consultation.  



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