The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that a party’s “obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated […] if the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis,” unless “otherwise agreed by the parties in a written agreement set forth in the judgment or otherwise approved by the court.” (750 ILCS 5/510(c)).
The maintenance recipient must reside with another and be involved in a de facto marriage-like relationship with that person for a court to consider terminating the maintenance obligation. In determining whether or not a de facto marriage-like relationship exists, the court looks at a variety of factors, including the following:
- duration of the relationship;
- duration of residency;
- whether household expenses are shared;
- whether joint bank accounts are maintained;
- whether funds have been commingled;
- whether they socialize together;
- attend family events together;
- whether they share meals;
- whether they share household chores;
- whether they exchange birthday/holiday gifts;
- whether they send out joint holiday cards and/or letters;
- whether they spend holidays/go on vacation together;
- whether they hold themselves out as a family; and
- whether people outside the relationship would consider them a family.
Laura R. Gottlieb is a family lawyer at Boyle Feinberg Sharma in Chicago, IL.