In this article...
• Spousal support or alimony is awarded to a spouse in a divorce to aid in maintaining their standard of living.
• Remarriage of the recipient spouse terminates entitlement to alimony in Illinois.
• Cohabitation can affect spousal support payments, and the paying spouse can request a modification of the spousal support order.
• Proving cohabitation can be challenging, and the paying spouse must provide evidence to the court.
• Either party can request a modification of the spousal support order if there has been a significant change in circumstances.
In Illinois, spousal support or alimony is awarded to a spouse by the other in a divorce. It is used to aid the recipient spouse in keeping their standard of living after the divorce. When the recipient spouse remarries or cohabits with a new partner, it can affect their ability to receive alimony. In this article, our Illinois alimony attorneys will explore how remarriage and cohabitation can affect alimony in Illinois.
What is Alimony in Illinois?
Alimony in Illinois provides financial support to a spouse who may have sacrificed things such as their career or education to support their family during the marriage. However, alimony is not awarded in every divorce case and usually depends on the receiving spouse's needs and the paying spouse's ability to provide that support. Numerous varying factors determine the length and amount of alimony payments. Things such as the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage can all affect how much and how long alimony lasts in Illinois. In Illinois, alimony payments can be temporary or permanent. They can also be modified if there is a drastic change in the financial circumstances of either spouse. To be up to date on Illinois alimony law read our article, Recent Changes to Illinois Alimony Law 2023.
Remarriage and Alimony in Illinois
Entitlement to alimony automatically terminates when the recipient spouse remarries in Illinois. The paying spouse is no longer required to make further payments to the recipient spouse. If the remarriage ends in a divorce, the recipient spouse may be able to receive spousal support again from their new ex-spouse. It is crucial to note that the termination of alimony relies on the recipient spouse remarrying; living with a new partner will not affect the alimony payments in Illinois.
Cohabitation and Alimony in Illinois
Cohabitation in Illinois is defined as a romantic relationship in which the couple lives together and shares financial as well as domestic responsibilities. Cohabitation can affect spousal support payments. If the recipient spouse engages in a cohabitating relationship, the paying spouse can request a modification of the spousal support order. To qualify as cohabitation in Illinois, the couple must meet the following criteria:
• The couple lives together on a continuous and ongoing basis
• Financial responsibilities are shared (things such as paying bills and expenses)
• The couple has an intimate and romantic relationship
A petition for modification can be filed with the court if the paying spouse believes that the recipient spouse is cohabiting. There are several factors that the court will consider before granting modification, such as the length and stability of the cohabitation, the financial contribution of the new partner, and whether the recipient spouse has had a change in financial needs.
If the court determines that the recipient spouse is cohabiting, they may reduce or terminate the spousal support payments. However, the court may also choose to modify the order instead of terminating it entirely. For example, they may reduce the amount of the payments or shorten the duration of the order.
Proving Cohabitation in Illinois
It can be challenging to prove cohabitation in Illinois. The burden is on the paying spouse to provide evidence to the court that the recipient spouse is living with a new partner. Some evidence that can be used to prove cohabitation includes:
• Witness testimony from friends or family members who have observed the couple living together.
• Financial records that show joint expenses or bank accounts.
• Social media posts or photographs showing the couple living together.
• Utility bills or lease agreements that show the recipient spouse and their new partner living together.
It is vital to remember that the paying spouse is the one who must provide clear and convincing evidence to the court that the recipient spouse is cohabitating.
Modifying Alimony in Illinois
Either party can seek a modification of the alimony order if there has been a significant change in the situation. For instance, if the paying spouse loses their job or the recipient receives an increase in income, they may be able to request a modification of the order. When a party requests a modification, the court is required to consider multiple factors, including:
In Illinois, either party can request a modification of the spousal support order if there has been a significant change in circumstances. For example, if the paying spouse loses their job or the recipient spouse experiences a significant increase in income, they may request a modification of the order. For more information on modification in Illinois read our article, Modifying Maintenance in Retirement.
When a party requests a modification of the spousal support order, the court will consider several factors, including:
• The financial needs and resources of each party.
• The standard of living established during the marriage.
• The duration of the marriage.
• The age and physical and emotional condition of each party.
• The earning capacity
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