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Moving In with a New Partner May Terminate Spousal Maintenance Eligibility

Posted on August 25, 2015 in Divorce

ending payments, spousal maintenance, Illinois family law attorneysIf you are divorced or are in the process of getting divorced, it is understandable that you might feel lonely and desire the companionship of a romantic partner. New relationships are exciting and often rejuvenating, especially for an individual coming out of an unhappy marriage. However, if you are receiving spousal maintenance or have asked for maintenance in your divorce, it is important to understand the potential impact of a new relationship, especially if you are considering moving in together.

Spousal Support

The law in Illinois recognizes that, after a divorce, it is sometimes necessary to assist a lower-earning spouse in regaining his or her independence. Based upon a consideration of a number of factors related to the marriage, a court may order one party to provide spousal maintenance to the other for a period of time—or permanently, if the marriage was long enough. The specific calculations are expected to follow a standard set forth in the law, but the original determination of necessity is left to the court.

Resident, Continual Conjugal Basis

While the court is granted the discretion to award spousal maintenance, the law also provides that certain events, such the receiving party’s remarriage will terminate future payments. It also contains a provision stating that termination of maintenance payments will occur "if the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis."

Case law in the state has gone on to establish that this means that maintenance payments will stop if you enter into a "de facto husband and wife relationship with a third party." To terminate payments, your ex-spouse will have to present evidence that your living arrangement constitute more than roommate situation. Simply proving a sexual relationship is not sufficient, nor is a sexual relationship necessary to satisfy the law’s definition of a "resident, continuing conjugal basis."

Instead, the focus is primarily on a household-type interdependency. If you have combined living expenses, shared bank accounts, and generally rely on each other for day to day living, your ex-spouse will not normally be expected to continue providing additional support.

Legal Advice on Moving Forward

The purpose of the law is not to prevent you from moving on with your life, but it can hardly be reasonable to require your ex-spouse to financially support your life with a new partner. To better understand how life decisions can affect your divorce agreement, including aspects such as spousal maintenance, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. We will review your situation and help you work within the law to protect your rights.

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