Cohabitation and Termination of Spousal Support

Does Cohabitation of My Ex-Spouse Terminate Spousal Support in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, or Oklahoma?

In some divorce cases, a court might determine that one spouse should pay spousal support/maintenance (formerly known as alimony) to their ex-spouse.  In other cases, the parties might agree through a settlement that spousal support should be paid.

When spousal support is paid, it can be modifiable or for a set-term known as contactual maintenance.  When spousal support is modifiable, it is generally payable for indefinite duration.  It usually continues until a change of circumstances of a substantial and continuing nature.  Alteratively, spousal support can terminate upon remarriage, death or, in some instances, cohabitation.

When Does Child Support Terminate Due To Cohabitation?

Many wrongly assume that if they can prove that their ex-spouse is cohabitating with another individual that their spousal support will automatically terminate.  To many individuals, they assume this is the case -- and an automatic out of maintenance.  The reality is that this is not necessarily that simple.

In Missouri, cohabitation does not automatically terminate maintenance.  Cohabitation can only terminate maintenance if it can be shown that the cohabitation is a "substitute for marriage."  Generally, this will require a showing that parties have commingled their assets, have made each other beneficiaries on their wills and have engaged in other actions that make it a substitute for marriage.

In Illinois, courts look to whether the cohabitation is on a "resident, continuing and conjugal basis."  The an answer to this question is not always straight-forward and fact specific.  To come to this determination, courts look at factors, like:

1) the length of the relationship;

2) the amount of time the couple spends together;

3) the nature of activities engaged in;

4) the interrelation of their personal affairs;

5) whether they vacation together; and

6) whether they spend holidays together.

In Kansas, a party generally needs to show that their ex-spouse is living together as husband and wife and mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties and obligations which are usually manifested by married people, including but not necessarily dependent on sexual relations.

In Oklahoma, the court will generally only modify alimony when the supported spouse's financial condition has improved due to the cohabitation. Of course, this requires evidence.

Succeeding under these standards is not necessarily easy.  However, there are fact patterns where cohabitation can result in a termination of maintenance.

Do You Need Help With A Maintenance Matter Involving Cohabitation in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Tulsa and beyond?

If you are interested in seeking counsel to terminate maintenance due to cohabitation, Stange Law Firm, PC can help.  We have lawyers who have experience in this area and can help.  We can help you analyze whether you may have a basis to file a motion to terminate maintenance.  We can also help you develop a strategy to ensure you have the best possible chance.

Alternatively, if you have been served a motion to terminate your maintenance and you need counsel, we can help you assess your options as well.  In some cases, your ex-spouse might wrongly believe you are cohabitating, but perhaps that is not the case.

If you need assistance with a spousal maintenance case, contact us online or call us at 855-805-0595.