Court Terminates Maintenance Upon Finding Of A De Facto Husband And Wife Relationship


 
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District Court Terminates Maintenance Payments To Cohabitating Former Spouse.

Evidence establishes a de facto husband and wife relationship with a third party.

 

In In re Marriage of Walther, the 3rd District Appellate Court reversed a circuit court ruling denying a petition for termination of maintenance (i.e., alimony or spousal support) to the payor’s former spouse. Section 510(c) of the IMDMA states “the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated if the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis.” To determine whether the petitioner has satisfied their burden of proof, a court considers the following factors: (1) the length of the relationship; (2) the amount of time spent together; (3) the nature of activities engaged in; (4) the interrelation of personal affairs (including finances); (5) whether they vacation together; and (6) whether they spend holidays together.

In Walther, the evidence showed that the payor's former spouse had a relationship that lasted nearly two years and included nearly one year of cohabitation. The former spouse prepared meals at this individual’s house, shared a bedroom with him, assisted in cashing checks for his business, washed his laundry, bought groceries, prepared meals, spent a substantial portion of each day with him, engaged in activities with his child, and had open access to his house. The only aspects of her personal affairs not interrelated with this individual were her finances, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and her child’s school registration. The court found that this evidence established that the payor's former spouse cohabitated with another individual on a resident, continuing conjugal basis, and held that circuit court’s denial of the petition to terminate maintenance was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

If you have questions about the impact of cohabitation on future maintenance obligations please contact Saxe Law LLC for a free consultation.