In an Illinois divorce case, it is common for a judge to award spousal support to a lower-earning spouse or party that faces challenges in becoming self-sustaining. The details of alimony vary and are very case-specific, so the duration could be several years after the divorce was finalized. As such, it is probable that adjustments may be necessary due to lifestyle changes of either the payer or recipient. Regardless of whether your arrangement was determined through a settlement agreement or a court hearing, you may be in the position to request or contest modifications to alimony.
Frequently, questions regarding spousal support modifications come up in the context of remarriage and/or cohabitation. Since disputes are common, it is wise to work with a Chicago divorce lawyer to ensure the protection of your interests. A summary of Illinois law on settlements, financial matters, and remarriage also offers some insight.
Overview of Illinois Divorce Laws on Alimony and Remarriage
Illinois’ statute on spousal maintenance spells out how certain circumstances affect payments, and you can see how these provisions serve the interests of fairness. The obligation to pay is terminated upon the death of either party or when the party receiving maintenance remarries or co-habitates with another person. Specifically:
- Implications for the Recipient: Once the party receiving alimony remarries, spousal support terminates by operation of law. The recipient cannot demand funds or use any amounts forwarded after the wedding date. Under Illinois state law (750 ILCS 5/510(c)), a person who receives alimony must notify their former spouse of their “intention to marry at least 30 days before the remarriage.” There is an exception in the law if the decision to marry occurred within 30 days. In that case, notification should be given within 72 hours of the marriage. If additional, unwarranted spousal support is paid because notification of remarriage was late (or never given), then the paying spouse is entitled to reimbursement.
- Impacts Affecting the Payor Spouse: The payor does not need court permission to stop payments once the recipient remarries. However, if you are paying alimony and remarry, your obligation continues.
- Cohabitation: It is not difficult to pinpoint the termination of spousal support based upon a wedding date, but there can be challenges when the recipient begins cohabiting with another person. To modify or terminate alimony, the payor must prove that the recipient is living with another adult in a marriage-like relationship. The court will look at:
- The duration of the relationship
- How much time the couple spends together, including holidays and free time
- Whether the recipient shares bank accounts, bills, a lease, mortgage, or other interests with another person
- Other relevant factors
Settlements and Alimony After Remarriage
Key language in Illinois’ statute on alimony creates an exception to the above overview of spousal support laws. If the parties sign a written agreement regarding future maintenance, the terms of that arrangement may supersede the law.
Speak to Our Chicago Divorce Lawyers About Financial Matters for Remarriage
While it is helpful to review the basics on alimony, remarriage, and other post-divorce financial issues, you should rely on skilled legal representation for the details. Our Chicago divorce attorneys will protect your family and future, so please contact Michael C. Craven to speak to a member of our team. You can set up a consultation at our offices in Chicago, IL by calling (312) 621-5234 or checking us out online.