During or after a divorce, the financially advantaged spouse may be required to make alimony (spousal maintenance) payments to their former partner. In Illinois, there are several different types of spousal support, including:
- Temporary alimony
- Reviewable alimony
- Fixed term alimony
- Indefinite alimony
Both fixed term alimony and indefinite alimony can last for many years. However, these payments may stop early if the receiving spouse remarries or enters a new cohabiting relationship. Here, our spousal support lawyer in Chicago provides a more detailed explanation of what happens when the spouse who receives alimony moves in with someone new.
Cohabitation With a Romantic Partner Warrants Termination of Alimony in Illinois
As you may already be aware, a receiving spouse’s remarriage is good cause to terminate alimony payments in Illinois. Beyond that, alimony payments can be stopped if the receiving partner enters a supportive relationship with a new romantic partner.
Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/510(c)), alimony payments can be terminated “if the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.”
In other words, alimony does not stop simply because the receiving spouse moves in with any random person. They have every right to move in with a family member, friend, or a roommate without losing out on their alimony.
However, if they enter a new cohabiting relationship with a romantic partner, then they are no longer entitled to alimony—unless they entered into a written agreement with their ex-spouse specifically stating otherwise.
Illinois Law: Defining a ‘Marriage-Like’ Relationship
Remarriage cases are relatively straightforward. There is an official government record stating whether a person actually got remarried. However, terminating alimony on the grounds of cohabitation can be far more complicated.
Under Illinois law, the statute is designed to cover “marriage-like” cohabitating relationships. There are three specific elements that must be met to justify termination of alimony payment on the grounds:
- Resident: While permanent cohabitation is not necessarily required, the receiving spouse must be in some form of “resident-like” relationship with another person to justify the termination of alimony.
- Continuing: The new relationship must be ongoing. Illinois law requires some form of continuing relationship on the part of the receiving party.
- Conjugal: Finally, the new relationship must be romantic/intimate/sexual in nature. Moving in with a strictly platonic friend is not good cause to terminate alimony under Illinois law.
Notably, Illinois has a retroactive provision included in its termination of alimony law. In effect, this means that the paying spouse could seek reimbursement if they continued to make unnecessary payments because they were never notified of remarriage or new cohabiting relationship.
Contact Our Chicago, IL Spousal Support Attorney for Immediate Help
Michael C. Craven is an experienced Chicago alimony lawyer. If you have any questions about alimony and cohabitation in Illinois, we can help. Contact us today to set up a confidential initial consultation. From our Chicago law office, we provide family law services in Cook County and throughout Northern Illinois.