How a new relationship can impact spousal support

After couples finalize a divorce in Illinois, one spouse may qualify for spousal support payments from the other. These payments provide temporary or permanent income to a financially dependent spouse during and after a divorce.

Although a spouse making support payments can petition the court to change or curtail an agreement when the other’s financial circumstances change, the following relationship changes always result in termination of spousal support.


Both former spouses are free to remarry after their divorce; however, those who re-marry while making alimony payments must continue this arrangement if their former spouses remain single. However, if the person receiving support remarries while alimony payments are in effect, the agreement automatically terminates as of that person’s marriage date.


Ex-spouses receiving alimony may pursue new romantic relationships. However, cohabitation, including sharing financial resources and obligations, making significant joint purchases and spending considerable time with someone, under the circumstances resembling a marriage, may impact support payments.

Cohabitation typically leads to the permanent cessation of alimony payments as of the date the court determines the start of the arrangement, even if the relationship ultimately dissolves. The only exception to this rule requires the final divorce agreement to mandate that one spouse continues to receive support regardless of living circumstances. Otherwise, the paying spouse may petition the court to refund payments following the start of the other’s cohabitation arrangement.

Divorce involves making life-altering decisions that may continue long after a marriage ends. Carefully executing a divorce agreement that addresses both spouses’ potential needs can prevent court battles that are challenging to predict.