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Stopping Spousal Support Payments

Posted on in Divorce

spousal support, alimony, spousal maintenance, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce attorneyUnder the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, an ex-spouse may be entitled to spousal support. Under section 504 of the law, it states, ". . . the court may grant a temporary or permanent maintenance award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, in gross or for fixed or indefinite periods of time. . ."

There are several factors a judge looks at in deciding whether or not to grant spousal support. Some of the criteria include the following:
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The present and future earning capacity of the spouses;
  • The standard of living the parties had while married;
  • The length of time it will take for the spouse seeking spousal support to obtain training and establish themselves professionally; and
  • Any prior agreement the couple may have had.
In rare circumstances, a permanent spousal support (spousal maintenance) order is granted. When granting a maintenance order, a judge will usually set a time limit on how long the payments will be received. Depending on how long the order will be in effect, the law also allows for periodic review and/or modification if needed. Certain circumstances will put an end to spousal support payments if they occur before the deadline decided by the judge. The death of either spouse automatically stops all maintenance. Remarriage of the spouse receiving the payments also puts an end to the support. As outlined in the statute, "the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis," is not as black and white as death and remarriage. In many cases, the spouse receiving the spousal support doesn’t volunteer that they are living with someone, nor do they admit they are when pressed by the spouse who is paying the support. Instead, the spouse making the payments has to provide proof to present to the court. There are certain key signs that point to cohabitation. Financial interdependencies between the ex-spouse and their significant other can help build a strong case to stop support payments. Do they share a home, food, utility bills and household responsibilities? Also look at how close they are as a couple and how they present themselves to the public, including involvement with each other’s children. If you were ordered to make spousal support payments in your divorce, but suspect that your ex-spouse is cohabitating with someone else, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney to find out what steps you may be able to take to have the support order stopped.

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