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Spousal support in Illinois: How to terminate or modify your payments

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Divorce |

Spousal support payments are court-ordered payments that one spouse makes to the other to help the receiving spouse maintain his or her standard of living until the end of their marriage. In some cases, these payments may be modified or terminated at some point during the marriage or even after divorce. Most modifications and terminations are complex and involve the consideration of several factors by a judge before they can take effect. However, in Illinois, there are a few events in which spousal support can be terminated automatically and with no discretion can be taken by the judge. Three of these events include the death of either party, remarriage of the spouse receiving support or cohabitation of the spouse receiving support.

Ending spousal support due to death

Spousal support ends at death. Obviously, payments made and received terminate, but so do payments owed by or to an estate–the former spouse cannot make any claims against the deceased’s estate, nor can the heirs of a recipient claim anything from the estate as in relation to spousal support. Any payments that were made after the fact, sometimes due to automatic payments taken from an account, then the money must be immediately returned. 

Ending spousal support due to remarriage

By law, when a recipient spouse who is receiving spousal maintenance plans to marry again, he or she must give notice to his or her former spouse at least thirty days before the date of marriage. This allows for enough time for the former spouse to file for termination of spousal support because of remarriage. 

If the recipient decides to remarry without planning it in advance, they are required to notify their former spouse within 72 hours of getting remarried.

Ending spousal support in the case of cohabitation 

Illinois is among a few states that will cease spousal support payments to the recipient if they begin to cohabitate with someone with whom they have a personal relationship. The person who is asking for the termination of support has the burden of proof that the couple has begun cohabiting. There are many factors that the judge will take into consideration when making the decision on whether or not to terminate the spousal support payments, such as what types of activities the couple does together, where they spend their time together and if these two people ever go on vacations or spend holidays together.