Maintenance is an award of spousal support from one party to the other in a divorce proceeding. Maintenance terminates upon the marriage of the party receiving maintenance. Unless the parties agree otherwise maintenance may terminate upon the death of either party, or if the party receiving maintenance co-habitats with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis. When maintenance is terminated based on cohabitation it can never be reinstated, even if the relationship ends.
To terminate maintenance the spouse seeking termination must establish there is a “marriage type” relationship. This can be done by showing the length of the relationship, the amount of time the former spouse and new partner spend together, and the nature of the activities in which they participate, the interrelations of their personal affairs (including finances), and the vacation and holidays they spend together. Courts do not look strictly at these factors, they will look at the totality of the relationship and if it functions practically and economically in a marriage-like way. The court is looking for a deeper level of commitment and the intended permanence of the relationship.
Although there is no definitive rule in Illinois, and each relationship is looked at differently, there are things to consider as you date, and become involved in an exclusive relationship:
When in Doubt, Reach Out – If you are concerned something could be used against you for cohabitation reach out to your attorney. Your attorney will be able to provide clarity, and help give you guidance to reduce the chance of you losing maintenance.
O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in: