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Can alimony payments end early?

The longer the marriage, the longer alimony payments may last. Illinois courts determine the length of payments by referring to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Calculating the duration of spousal maintenance is done by multiplying the length of the marriage by an assigned number. If a marriage has lasted 20 years or longer, the court may decide to grant spousal support indefinitely or for an equivalent number of years. However, there are three circumstances where spousal maintenance payments may terminate early, regardless of whether a court ruling regarding the duration is present.

Remarriage

In Illinois, the paying spouse may stop making alimony payments once the supported spouse remarries. The paying spouse does not need to go to court and can stop paying as of the date of remarriage. However, the payor will still need to complete any payments already due before remarriage.

The supported spouse should provide notification at least 30 days before or within 72 hours of the marriage. Any payments paid following the wedding may be refunded to the payor.

Alimony does not end if the person remarrying is the paying spouse. The court may explore terminating spousal support payments if the payor must support their new family and the supported spouse is childless and able to work.

Cohabitation

Payments may end once the supported spouse starts living with another partner on a continuing, conjugal basis. This is because the supported spouse is now receiving support from another person.

In order to end their spousal support obligations, the payor must petition the court and provide proof of cohabitation. Simply put, Illinois law recognizes cohabitation as when the couple begins to live together in the same way as a husband and wife.

However, every relationship is unique. Even though a couple lives together, it does not necessarily mean they are cohabiting. The court will have to look at the relationship closely before deciding.

In addition to remarriage, cohabitation, or death, the payor may also experience a significant change in circumstances, which might be enough for the court to modify or terminate alimony payments. In that case, the payor must file a petition in court and prepare supporting documentation. It is best to consult an attorney if the divorced couple has any disagreements or concerns regarding spousal support.

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