Cohabitation is becoming increasingly common in our society, with many couples choosing to live together without getting married. While cohabitation can be a great way to test the waters before tying the knot, it can also have legal implications when it comes to divorce and maintenance awards. In Illinois, cohabitation can be a factor in determining whether to modify or terminate a maintenance award.

Under Illinois law, maintenance (formerly known as alimony) is awarded to a spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse after a divorce. If the recipient spouse begins cohabiting with a new partner, the paying spouse may petition the court to modify or terminate the maintenance award. The court can consider factors such as the length and stability of the cohabitation, the economic consequences of the cohabitation, and the recipient spouse’s financial needs and resources.

So, if you’re receiving maintenance and thinking about shacking up with your new beau, it’s important to understand the potential impact on your maintenance award. While cohabitation doesn’t automatically terminate maintenance, it can certainly be a factor in the court’s decision. As with all legal matters, it’s best to consult with an attorney who has experience dealing with maintenance/cohabitation in Illinois’ Courts, so as to better understand your rights and options.

Cohabitation can have a significant effect on maintenance awards in Illinois. Whether you’re the paying spouse or the recipient spouse, it’s important to understand the legal implications before taking the leap. With some understanding of the legal landscape and careful consideration, you can navigate the nuances of cohabitation and maintenance awards to ensure a fair and equitable outcome.

Leonidas L. Bezanis II, Associate
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