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When Does Spousal Support End?

 Posted on January 22, 2018 in Spousal Maintenance

Illinois divorce lawyerIn many Illinois divorces, spousal support, also called maintenance, is granted to one spouse, usually the one in a lower income bracket. However, contrary to perceptions in popular culture, it does not last until death. There are multiple occasions when spousal support can legally end before the ex-spouse’s passing, and if you or your spouse may be in one of these situations, it can save you time and money in the future.

Types of Maintenance

In determining what type of maintenance should be awarded (if any), the court will examine a laundry list of factors, intended to accurately assess the needs of the spouse with less capital against the potential cost to the spouse with more assets. Some of these factors include the present and future earning capacity of both spouses, the length of the marriage and the standard of living established during that time, and any previous agreement made by the spouses, such as a prenuptial agreement, that might affect any part of marital asset division. The cessation of spousal support payments depends mostly on the type granted, as depending on which type is awarded, sometimes support may end on its own.

There are three major types of maintenance that can be granted during an Illinois divorce. One is temporary, merely intended to keep one spouse on firm financial footing while proceedings are going on. The other two are rehabilitative and permanent maintenance. Rehabilitative maintenance is awarded for a finite period of time, usually two years, to give a spouse who has been out of the workforce time to attend classes or do whatever they need to do to ensure their credentials and knowledge are up to date for job-hunting purposes. Permanent maintenance is somewhat more self-explanatory in most cases, being awarded until the obligee (the spouse receiving the payments) dies or remarries. (There are exceptions to this.)

When Payments End

Rehabilitative maintenance may simply end at the conclusion of the stipulated period, and most of the time, this is what happens. However, both rehabilitative and permanent maintenance will end if either spouse dies, as one might imagine, or if the obligee remarries. It is also possible for spousal support payments to either end or be severely curtailed if the obligor (the payor) loses their job or involuntarily winds up taking a significant pay cut. In the case of the latter event, however, the obligor would have to file a petition to modify support payments, which might take some time to be heard in court.

One other common event that can trigger an end to support payments is when the obligee begins to cohabitate with another person (and in Illinois, cohabitation does not have to have a sexual relationship as a component). While cohabitation is not the same as remarriage, the rationale behind this is that someone cohabitating with another is being supported by them, and does not need support payments from an ex-spouse. If your ex-spouse is cohabitating with someone else on a “resident, continuing conjugal basis,” in a “de facto husband and wife relationship,” you will likely be successful in having your spousal support payments discontinued, because your ex will be supported by someone else.

Spousal Support Attorneys In DuPage County

Spousal support has its place in most divorces, but there are also many ways it can come to an end. If you have questions or concerns about your payments, consulting a knowledgeable attorney at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. may clear up any confusion. Contact our zealous DuPage County maintenance attorneys today to set up an appointment.



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