If you are receiving or paying spousal maintenance in Illinois, that maintenance can be terminated for a number of reasons. These could include the death of either party, retirement, remarriage, or for cohabiting with someone else. That cohabitation must be proved in court and, if it is successfully proven, could bring the court to the decision that the maintenance should end.
What Does Illinois Law Say About Cohabitation?
Under Illinois law, if you are living with another person in a “resident, continuing, conjugal” relationship, it is generally considered a valid reason to end spousal maintenance. Under this definition, conjugal refers to a relationship that mimics marriage. The factors that would be marriage-like could include the amount of time you spend with the other person, whether you share your finances, and more. These factors as well as the ones listed below would have to be established to prove that you were not just sharing your living arrangements with someone else as mere roommates.
The other factors that the court may review to decide this issue could also include:
- How long you and the other person have lived together
- What kinds of activities you engage in with the other person
- How your personal affairs are conducted in relationship with the other person
- Whether you go on vacations together
- Whether you spend your holidays together
The above factors are not an exclusive list. They would have to be reviewed in totality along with any other evidence that would constitute evidence. This could be a complex matter that could involve gathering sufficient evidence from many sources over time to convince a judge.
Gathering evidence to prove a case of cohabitation could be done through hiring a private investigator. This is a common way for spousal maintenance payers to acquire proof in cases where the other party’s intention is to have the maintenance continued while cohabiting. Evidence that could be gathered by a private investigator could include photographs, financial information such as jointly-held bank accounts and credit cards, and other documentation.
Ending Maintenance Through a Court Order
In order to have spousal maintenance modified or terminated, you will have to officially go through the court. If the judge decides in your favor, the obligation to pay maintenance may end on the date that the court rules the cohabitation began. If you are the payor of maintenance, you may be entitled to a reimbursement of what was paid in the past beyond that date. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., our legal team can provide the assistance you need to resolve any spousal maintenance or other family law matter. Our award-winning legal team has built a reputation for outstanding service and legal ability in divorce and family law representation for clients throughout greater Chicago.