Remarrying is common. According to the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of people who get divorced will eventually get married a second time. This raises an important question: How is spousal support affected by a new marriage? The short answer is a remarriage by the receiving spouse will terminate alimony obligations, whereas a remarriage by the paying spouse will have no direct impact on alimony obligations. Below, our Naperville and Bolingbrook spousal support lawyers provide a more comprehensive explanation of how remarriage affects alimony in Illinois.
Receiving Spouse Gets Remarried: Alimony is Terminated
If the spouse who is receiving alimony gets remarried, then all obligations are immediately terminated. No legal action is required. As soon as the new marriage is official, no additional spousal support payments are owed. The remarrying spouse has an obligation to notify their former partner of the remarriage ahead of time. If they fail to do so and the paying spouse makes unnecessary payments, reimbursement may be available.
Paying Spouse Gets Remarried: Alimony Continues
If the spouse who is paying alimony gets remarried, there will be no direct effect on their alimony obligations. You cannot stop paying spousal support to your ex simply because you got remarried — payments can only stop if your ex gets remarried. To stop paying alimony, you will have to prove a substantial change in circumstances, which justifies the modification (medical issues, loss of income, etc). Your own remarriage does not automatically qualify.
Remarriage is Not the Only Standard: Cohabiting in a ‘Dating-like’ Relationship
Notably, remarriage is not necessarily required to terminate alimony payments in Illinois. State law also permits the paying spouse to cut off payments if their former spouse begins cohabiting with a new partner in a dating-like relationship. In other words, a person receiving alimony will lose their rights to receive alimony payments when they enter a new supportive relationship. Even if they do not technically get remarried, payments may be terminated.
An important caveat is that the paying spouse does not have the right to simply stop sending alimony payments because they believe their ex is involved in a new dating-like relationship. Quite the contrary and unlike with an actual remarriage, the paying spouse must petition the court in this scenario. They will be required to ask the judge for a modification, which frees them from paying spousal maintenance on the grounds of their former partner’s new supportive relationship.
Contact Our Naperville and Bolingbrook Spousal Support Attorneys Today
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois divorce lawyers have the skills and legal knowledge to handle the full range of spousal support cases. If you have questions about remarriage and alimony, we are here to help. To get a confidential, no-commitment consultation, please contact our law firm now. We represent clients throughout the region, including Naperville and Bolingbrook.