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Geneva family law attorneyIf you are divorced and receiving maintenance payments from your ex-spouse, you may have come to rely on that money. Maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is intended to help a financially disadvantaged spouse in the years that follow a divorce, so such reliance is rather understandable. There are, however, a few situations in which your actions could cause maintenance payments to end. It is important to understand the law in Illinois so that you can make the best decisions for your future.

Ending Support Obligations

Permanent maintenance—in other words, support for the rest of a spouse’s life—is generally reserved for divorces between spouses who have been married for 20 years or more. For shorter marriages, the court will usually set a specific amount of time for maintenance payments to last. Both situations presume that the court has identified the need for maintenance. When a support order includes an intended end date, payments must continue until that date unless the recipient remarries or either spouse passes away. (It is possible for a divorce settlement to include security provisions in the event of the paying spouse’s death, but that is a topic for another day.) The third situation that could terminate a spouse’s obligation to pay maintenance is if the recipient spouse moves in with a new romantic partner.  

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.

Attorney Warlick, cohabitation, cohabitation agreement, Geneva family law attorney, marriage trends, millennial generation, millennials, millennials views on marriage, prenuptial agreementThe millennials, the emergent consumer demographic, are changing the face of marriage. Noted in the abstract, "Fewer Marriages, More Divergence: Marriage Projections for Millennials to Age 40," authors Steven P. Martin, Nan Marie Astone, and H. Elizabeth Peters project that marriage for millennials will be at the lowest rate of any previous generation. And for those opting for marriage, a trip down the aisle may not happen before their 40th birthday.

Data derived from the American Community Surveys provided the basis for the analyses with a cross-check against the 2000 U.S. Census report. Additionally, the following projections were established:

Projection #1

cohabitation, divorce risk, Geneva family law attorney, risk of divorce, premarital cohabitation, divorce trends, successful marriage tipsFor the past few decades, social scientists have pointed to couples living together before marriage as a factor that increases the divorce risk. Study after study has concluded that same result, but none of these studies ever pinpointed a reason why. However, a recent study suggests that all the former studies were actually looking at the incorrect variable to draw their conclusions from.

According to the study, which was sponsored by Council on Contemporary Families and conducted at the University of North Carolina, it is not whether or not a couple lives together before marriage that affects their chance of divorce. It is, however, the age at which a couple actually begins to live together—whether they are married or not. That factor, said researchers, is the variable that affects the divorce risk.

In many cases, when a couple decides to move in together, they are often younger than couples who wait until they are married to live together. When researchers of this study recognized that and took control of that variable, they found that it was the age that made a difference in whether or not the marriage was successful, not premarital cohabitation.

divorce rate, baby boomer, marriage, divorce, generation, millennials , Geneva divorce lawyerA new study by the Minnesota Population Center reveals that for the past 30 years, marriage experts have been reading the wrong data when it comes to determining the increases and decreases of this country’s divorce rate. And this new information shows that the divorce rate is even higher than previously thought – especially among baby boomers.

Divorce numbers began rising in the 1970’s as many baby boomers got married and divorced. They’ve kept up that pattern over the past three decades. According to the lead researchers, Steve Ruggles and Sheela Kennedy, the increase has spiked dramatically. In an interview, Ruggles said, “There has been a threefold increase in the divorce rate of people aged between 60 and 65 since 1990. And for those older than 65, the increase is fivefold.”

Ruggles points out that second and third marriages are often more “unstable” than first marriages and cites this as one of the reasons for the increase in numbers.

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