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Divorce may seem like an isolated family issue, but it can also affect extended members of the family, such as grandparents. It has been a trend in the United States for grandparents to contribute significantly to child care and helping parents raise their children. In many cases, a retired grandparent may act as daytime child care for a child whose parents work during the day. Especially in these relationships, the bond between a grandparent and grandchild can be strong and essential to the child’s well-being. In some cases, grandparents in Illinois may be able to request visitation with a child after the child’s parents divorce or split up.

Requesting Visitation for a Grandchild

When it comes to family matters such as these, things can be sticky when parents disagree with grandparents. Illinois law states that grandparents are only allowed to request visitation if the child’s parent has “unreasonably” denied the grandparent the right to spend time with the child, and the denial has caused the child physical, emotional, or mental harm. The law does not define what “unreasonable” denial is, but it does state that all parents who are deemed fit are presumed to be acting in the child’s best interests if they refuse to allow a grandparent or other family member to spend time with the child. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Sometimes, a parent may use their child as a pawn against a grandparent or have some other bad faith reason to deny visitation.

Factors for Determination

If a grandparent has requested visitation with their grandchild, the court will make the final decision based on a variety of factors. These factors can include things such as:

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hoffman estates divorce lawyerThe property division process can be one of the most important aspects of a divorce for many people. Many of the decisions you make while dividing your assets can affect your life for years to come. This is why it is so important for you to have an accurate understanding of your financial situation. Before you start dividing your property, your attorney will typically conduct discovery, which means he or she will request any and all financial information from your spouse. However, this does not mean that your spouse will comply or be truthful about their assets and debts. One of the things you can do to ensure that you receive a fair share of the marital assets is to create a lifestyle analysis.

Understanding a Lifestyle Analysis

When you and your spouse begin your divorce, you will both be asked to fill out a financial affidavit, which contains information about your finances, such as your income and expenses. However, many people simply use estimates on these forms, which does not really give a person an accurate picture of their financial situation. A lifestyle analysis helps to paint that picture. The analysis will contain extensive information about your income, expenditures, tax obligations, and other financial information. A divorce financial analyst will use the lifestyle analysis to build a monthly budget for you that takes all relevant factors into consideration.

Benefits of Using a Lifestyle Analysis

Most of the time, a lifestyle analysis is used to establish the standard of living that a couple had during their marriage. The lifestyle analysis can be the basis for decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, or property division. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), one of the factors that judges may consider in a contested divorce is the type of lifestyle the couple enjoyed during their marriage. For example, if one spouse did not work during the marriage and asks for spousal maintenance, the judge may look at the lifestyle analysis to help determine what an appropriate amount of spousal maintenance might be.

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temporary divorce order lawyerWhen you get a divorce, it can feel like your life is falling apart. Even the small things you knew and were used to can change, like picking the kids up from school or what you have for dinner. Even more important things can change, including your financial situation and how you pay your bills. After you initiate a divorce, you will likely have two separate households that you must deal with until the divorce is final. But how do you know that everything for your own household is being taken care of in the midst of all of the chaos? In many cases, temporary orders can help you ensure financial support during the divorce process. 

What to Include in Temporary Orders

Some people may not be aware that temporary orders exist, but they can be extremely helpful to couples who are going through a contentious divorce. When you file for divorce, you can petition the court and ask for any of the following issues to be addressed in a temporary order:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance and/or child support - If your spouse moves out when you file for divorce, you can ask the court to have him or her pay maintenance and/or child support payments for the duration of the divorce until more permanent orders can be put into place.
  •  Awarding sole possession of the marital home - In some cases, a spouse may refuse to leave the marital home or demand that you leave. If this is the case, you can ask the court to award you exclusive possession of your home until you can determine what you will do with it during the divorce process.
  • Paying household bills - You can also petition the court to require the other spouse to continue to help with household bills and expenses while the divorce is ongoing.
  • Temporary parenting time schedules -  If you and your spouse disagree on parenting time, you can ask the court to create a rudimentary schedule that you can follow during the course of the divorce.

 

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Illinois family law attorneyWith summer in full swing, you may be thinking about taking a fun trip with your kids. However,  if you recently got divorced and have a child custody order to follow, it can make things a little more complicated. To avoid mishaps, be sure to plan ahead and keep your child’s co-parent in the loop.

Reviewing Your Parenting Agreement

If you share custody of your kids with your ex, it is a good idea to look at the parenting agreement before taking your children on vacation. Look for information regarding holidays and taking trips with your kids. The document may address important questions, such as how much notice you have to give the other parent and how long of a trip you can take. If you are having difficulty understanding some of the terms in your parental agreement, do not hesitate to talk to your Illinois family lawyer.

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barrington injury lawyerIf you have decided to file for divorce, you may be nervous about going to Court and battling with your spouse. However, if you opt for mediation, you may not have to go through all of that stress. During mediation, you and your spouse will attempt to resolve major issues in your divorce with the help of a mediator. The process can help you save money, time and heartache.

Things You May Not Know About Mediation

Although mediation has long been an available option for divorcing couples, there are still many misconceptions about it. Here are several facts about mediation you might not know about.

  • Mediation does not require couples to get along. A big misconception about mediation is that it is only intended for divorcing couples on good terms. Although it would be ideal if both partners got along well, it is not required. During the process, the mediator will focus on helping you and your spouse make compromises rather than argue about every little thing. As long as the spouses can work toward a resolution, mediation can be effective.
  • Mediation can be beneficial for all couples of all income brackets. Unlike popular belief, mediation is not just beneficial for divorcing couples of modest means. The process can also be useful for high-net-worth couples. Many divorcing couples with substantial income and assets also want to settle their divorce as quickly and affordably as possible. However, if a couple owns high-value or complex assets, mediation alone may be insufficient. In this case, mediation may be combined with legal support from a skilled divorce lawyer. 
  • The mediator will not make decisions for you. One of the biggest advantages to mediation is that you and your spouse will have more control over the outcome of your divorce. Instead of making decisions for you, a mediator will facilitate a productive conversation between you and your spouse.
  • It is wise to hire a divorce lawyer. Mediation may help you avoid a trial, but it is still in your best interest to have an experienced Illinois divorce attorney on your side. A lawyer can provide you with sound legal advice and prevent you from making mistakes that could hurt your case.

Contact a Palatine, IL Divorce Attorney 

If you need assistance with the mediation process, you should consult a Barrington, IL divorce lawyer. At the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., we understand what a difficult time you are going through and want to offer our help. We are here to address all of your questions and concerns. Contact us at 847.873.6741 to schedule a free consultation.

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barrington divorce lawyerEvery couple going through a divorce with children must make child custody arrangements for their children before they can complete the process. Your parenting plan must contain information about how you and your spouse will split parenting time and share decision-making responsibilities. Parenting time is often a tough issue for parents during a divorce. Many parents do not want to give up spending time with their children. One of the ways parents can spend a bit more time with their children is by crafting a well-thought-out “right of first refusal” clause in the parenting agreement.

Understanding the Right of First Refusal

There are fifteen different elements that must be addressed in the parenting plan per Illinois law. One of the provisions you must include is a description of how and when parents may invoke the right of first refusal. The right of first refusal gives a parent the opportunity to care for their child before the other parent takes the child to an alternative care provider. For example, if a mother cannot watch the child on her assigned day, she must contact the father to see if he can watch the child before calling a babysitter. The right of first refusal is a right that both, one, or neither parent may have, depending on what would be in the child’s best interests. 

What to Include in the Agreement

Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement about the right of first refusal, but if they are unable to, the Court reserves the right to make the final decision. There are a few things you should be sure to include in the agreement:

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Barrington family law attorney for joint simplified dissolutionMuch of what people know about the divorce process stems from movies, TV shows, and what they have seen in the media. While this can provide a general idea about divorce, these on-screen divorces are usually much more dramatic than is necessary. In many cases, there is some sort of disagreement or tension between the couple, but this is not always the case. Some couples agree on getting a divorce long before they ever begin to seek legal help. Contested divorces can be stressful for everyone, especially when they drag on for months or years. Couples who agree on all issues may have the option to file a joint simplified divorce in Illinois, which could help make the divorce process a little easier.

Determining Eligibility

While a joint simplified dissolution of marriage can be much more favorable to some couples, not all couples will qualify for this type of divorce. Before a couple can file a joint simplified dissolution, they must ensure that they meet all requirements for this process. A couple can only use the simplified dissolution procedure if:

  • Neither spouse relies on the other for financial support;
  • Both spouses waive their right to spousal support;
  • At least one spouse has been a resident of Illinois for at least six months;
  • The couple has provided proof of irreconcilable differences;
  • The couple has no children, and the wife is not currently pregnant;
  • The marriage did not last for more than eight years;
  • Neither spouse has retirement accounts, or if they do, the account is in their name only and has less than $10,000 in it;
  • Neither spouse has a gross annual income of more than $30,000;
  • The combined gross annual income of both spouses is less than $60,000;
  • The total value of all marital property is less than $50,000;
  • The couple has signed a written agreement that distributes any marital property or debt that is valued at more than $100 while also addressing any companion animals owned by either spouse; and
  • Both spouses have fully disclosed all property and financial information.

Speak With Our Barrington, IL Simplified Marriage Dissolution Lawyer Today

If you are considering a simplified dissolution procedure to end your marriage, you are not required to have an attorney, but hiring a skilled Inverness, IL divorce lawyer can be extremely beneficial. At the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., we will help you determine if a simplified dissolution procedure is the right choice for your situation. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 847.873.6741.

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Mt. Prospect family law attorney for parental relocationAfter a long and stressful divorce, finally receiving that piece of paper with the judge’s declaration that you are no longer married can be a sigh of relief. However, if you have children, you will never truly be able to be completely free from your ex-spouse. Even after you have settled everything, come up with your parenting plan, and received your divorce decree, you may still have to work out certain issues with your spouse in the future. For example, there are restrictions on where and how far a parent can move with their child without notifying the other parent and the court of the move. If you notify your child’s other parent of an impending move, and they object to your planned relocation, you will then have to take extra steps to ensure you comply with state laws.

Notify the Other Parent and Try to Work Out an Agreement

Before you do anything, you are required to notify the other parent if your move qualifies as a relocation. Your move will be considered a relocation if you are moving more than 25 miles away from your current home in Cook, Kane, Lake, DuPage, McHenry, or Will County, or if you are moving to a different state.

If you notify your ex-spouse, and they do not object to your relocation, you can then negotiate a new parenting plan that can be approved and put into place by the court. If you are having trouble coming to an agreement, you will be ordered to attend mediation to attempt to work this out, though an agreement cannot always be reached.

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Rolling Meadows divorce attorney for spousal maintenanceOne of the many considerations that commonly arise during divorce is the issue of spousal support, which is also known as alimony or spousal maintenance. In years past, spousal support was more common than it is now, simply because our culture and society were different. In many cases, it was not uncommon for women, in particular, to stay home to raise children and take care of the household while the man worked outside of the home to financially support the family.

While this may have worked during the marriage, it tended to create financial dependence, causing issues if the couple ended up getting divorced. Rather than leaving the woman to fend for herself, spousal maintenance was created, requiring the working spouse to contribute a portion of his or her income to help support their former spouse until they can get back on their feet. In today’s world, spousal support is less common than it used to be, but it is still an issue that can arise, and it can lead to contentious disputes between divorcing spouses.

Awarding Spousal Support in Divorce

Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed in all Illinois divorces. There will be some cases in which spousal support would not be appropriate, such as if both spouses have jobs and earn enough income to support themselves. If the issue of spousal support is contested, a judge will determine if a spousal maintenance award is necessary. To do this, he or she will look at a variety of factors that may include things like you and your spouse’s income, each of your present and realistic earning capacities, how long your marriage lasted, and each of your needs.

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Hoffman Estates collaborative law attorneyWhen exploring your options for splitting up with your spouse, the idea of a traditional litigated divorce can be daunting to some people. In truth, there are actually very few divorces that make it to an actual trial. Most divorces in today’s world have some degree of cooperation throughout the process. When a couple cannot agree, however, litigation can be one of your only options -- aside from collaborative divorce. Both types of divorces can offer different benefits to different families, which is why you should discuss your situation with an Illinois divorce attorney before making any decisions.

Defining Collaborative Divorce

Many people have never heard of a collaborative divorce, or they may have heard about it, but do not actually know what it is. A collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation that allows a couple to complete their divorce without having to go to court. In many cases, collaborative divorces are used during contested divorce cases that would otherwise result in a legal battle. Instead of spending multiple sessions in a courtroom just to have a judge decide your fate, a collaborative divorce takes place during meetings between you, your spouse, and both of your attorneys. Collaborative divorces may also involve various professionals from different fields who can provide guidance and advice on specific issues throughout the process.

Benefits of Utilizing a Collaborative Divorce

Many couples have found that there are a variety of benefits and reasons to use the collaborative divorce process, rather than litigation -- especially if there is disagreement or contention between the couple. Some of the most advantageous reason to choose a collaborative divorce include:

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Hoffman Estates divorce attorney for children’s medical costsPrior to filing for divorce, you may not have given much thought to maintaining health insurance coverage for your children and covering these costs. Health insurance is a somewhat controversial topic in the United States that also has the potential to lead to disputes during a divorce. One of the important elements in your parenting plan for your children will be the terms addressing your child’s medical information. You and your spouse must come to an agreement on several issues pertaining to your child’s healthcare, including how decisions will be made. One of the most important elements involves how you and your spouse will split the costs of your child’s medical care.

Maintaining Health Insurance for Your Child

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides the formula that is used to calculate the basic child support obligation that both parents are responsible for. This formula takes into account various factors, such as the parents’ income and parenting time. The IMDMA states that the basic child support obligation is meant to be used toward a portion of your child’s out-of-pocket medical expenses. However, the court has the discretion to order either or both parents to initiate health insurance coverage for your child. If neither parent has health insurance coverage, or if their child is not eligible for coverage, the court may require the parents to seek state-sponsored health insurance for the child.

Managing Other Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Expenses

There will likely be times that you find that health insurance does not cover 100 percent of the costs associated with certain medical treatments or doctor’s visits. In these situations, it could be confusing and frustrating if you and your ex did not have a plan in place. If you often have out-of-pocket medical expenses for your child, you can ask the court to include a medical expense contribution in addition to the monthly child support obligation. This contribution would help cover expenses such as:

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Northwest Cook County family law attorney child custody

In Illinois, child custody is now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities. Regardless if a married couple with children was married and decided to divorce or they never tied the knot, they must determine who is going to care for their kids in the future. Typically, Illinois courts favor both parents staying involved in their child’s life after a divorce or a breakup if they were unmarried. However, there are situations where one parent may be abusive or neglects to properly care for his or her children. In these cases, a parent may be deemed unfit by a judge and his or her custody terminated involuntarily.

Terminating Parental Rights

Unless there is convincing evidence, rarely will an Illinois court terminate a parent’s rights completely. The court needs actual proof that the other parent’s actions (or inactions) are negatively affecting the kids. Proof of unfitness may include photographs or videos showing abuse, medical records illustrating injuries due to an unsafe environment, police reports, and electronic communication such as text or email messages and social media posts. Even if a parent is deemed unfit, he or she is usually given certain parental rights, albeit very limited. 

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Hoffman Estates divorce attorney asset division

When a couple is married, they often share many things, including property and assets. However, if their union sours and they decide to divorce, they will have to decide how to divide all of these items. Marital property consists of anything that is acquired during the marriage. Nonmarital property is anything that one spouse obtained prior to the marriage. According to Illinois law, any debt that spouses accumulated together falls under marital debt, so it is, therefore, subject to division. Determining who is required to pay off certain debts can be challenging to say the least. 

Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Debts

Since Illinois is an equitable distribution state, debt is divided “fairly” rather than equally. This method can apply to different types of debt, from cars to home improvements to educational loans. In addition, if a couple owns and runs a company together, that family business must be valued to determine how to divide its assets. If one spouse owned a business before the marriage, but the other spouse helped manage its day-to-day operations, then he or she may be entitled to a portion of its value or worth.

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Hoffman Estates family law attorney postnuptial agreement

When two people enter into marriage, they may not consider what would happen if the relationship sours. However, a prenuptial agreement that is signed before the wedding can outline how certain issues are addressed and assets are divided in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement is a legal document that is drafted after a couple gets married or enters into a civil union. Similar to a prenup, the provisions in a postnup commonly account for the division of property and spousal support in a divorce, or the death of a spouse. In many ways, a postnuptial agreement provides a sense of security and trust by clarifying how certain issues will be handled in the future if the two spouses go their separate ways. It can also save time and money since the parties do not have to go to court to hash out the details of their case.  

Safeguarding Your Interests

Although you may think your love is going to last forever, circumstances and people can change. There are many benefits to planning for the unknown, even after you are legally married. In order for a postnup to be valid in Illinois, the document must be put in writing and signed voluntarily by both spouses in the presence of a witness. In other words, a spouse cannot be coerced or forced into signing a premarital or postnuptial agreement. In addition, a full and accurate disclosure of financial records is necessary when making a postnup. 

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Arlington Heights divorce attorney

Coming to the decision to divorce can take months and even years before you decide to take the necessary legal steps to end your marriage. Perhaps you and your spouse slowly grew apart or you have been unhappy for a long time. Regardless of the details of your union, getting divorced can be a very challenging process, even if both of you were willing to compromise. If you and your spouse have a great deal of conflict, this only exacerbates the legal proceedings. If children are involved, emotions can run even higher, so managing this situation requires strategy. An experienced divorce attorney can help protect your rights every step of the way. 

Managing the Stress of it All

Under Illinois divorce law, a couple can reach their own agreement regarding property division, spousal support, and parental responsibilities. However, if they disagree on any issues, they will have to go to court and a judge will make determinations based on several factors, such as what is in the best interest of any children. 

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Arlington Heights divorce attorney parenting time

Many married couples stay together “for the sake of the kids” even though they are unhappy in their marriage. However, studies show that children do not benefit from living in a household filled with anger, resentment, or tension. They do, however, thrive when both parents are involved and engaged in their lives. This type of parental relationship can be accomplished even when parents decide to legally end their marriage and divorce. Although co-parenting after divorce can be challenging, an alternative option is a parallel parenting plan, which can provide a shared parenting arrangement that benefits everyone.  

Illinois Parenting Time

In Illinois, divorcing parents can determine the allocation of parenting responsibilities if they agree to the terms. Similar to the traditional co-parenting method, parallel parenting involves limited direct contact between the parents. This approach can be ideal in high-conflict divorces where parents have difficulty communicating with each other in a civil manner. If parents choose to try parallel parenting, they may change to a co-parenting model in the future as conflict subsides and they are able to get along better. 

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Arlington Heights divorce attorney property division

Pets are often considered special members of any family. For those couples who do not have children, their dog or cat can seem like a child. According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 67 percent of American households, or approximately 85 million families, own a pet. There are many different types of pets one can have, and some of the most common include dog, cat, rabbit, turtle, hamster, guinea pig, lizard, bird, or snake. When a couple decides to part ways and gets a divorce, a common question is what happens to the family pet or pets? Understanding how asset and property division, as well as child custody work in Illinois, can help determine where a pet will reside post-divorce. 

The Division of Marital Property Is Fair

In Illinois, marital property is divided using the “equitable division” method, which means that instead of assets being split in half, they are divided fairly. In some cases, a couple may agree on who gets what, including their pet. Several factors are considered by a judge if a couple cannot agree to the terms on their own, such as the length of the marriage and each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. Every situation is unique, so what works for one family may not work for others. In cases where there is more than one pet, the spouses may agree to each take one.

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Northwest Cook County divorce attorney asset division

Often found in the business world, commingled assets refer to mixing personal funds with business funds or using business assets for personal reasons. Commingling of funds or assets can also occur between two spouses, making it difficult to determine which funds and/or assets belong to whom in a divorce. For example, it can be hard to distinguish when one spouse’s separate property is mixed with the other spouse’s marital property. However, this is crucial to ensure that each party receives his or her fair share of the marital estate. 

Equitable Distribution 

Under Illinois law, marital property is divided using the equitable distribution method, which means items or assets are not necessarily split in half, but rather in a fair way. Marital property is generally considered property that was acquired during the course of the marriage. Non-marital or separate property is that which one spouse owned prior to getting married or acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance. Separate property is not subject to division in the divorce settlement. 

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Arlington Heights divorce attorney

The decision to divorce can be a long and winding road, often taking a couple many years to come to terms that their relationship is not working. Part of the anxiety of divorcing involves the fear of the unknown. The transition from being married to being single may seem daunting and overwhelming. If you have children, that can further complicate matters, and you may worry about the toll the divorce will take on them. You likely have a million thoughts running through your head and a long to-do list as you start the next chapter of your life. Disregarding your physical and emotional health during this tumultuous time can be easy to do. However, make it a priority as you navigate this new future for you and your children. 

Focusing on the Future

A divorce has been compared to a death in the sense that it is a great loss that results in feelings of grief and sadness. This may cause you to be depressed and engage in harmful coping behaviors such as drinking, drugs, or compulsive shopping. You may overeat or not eat at all, sleep too much, or have insomnia because you are so distraught. The stress of divorce combined with lifestyle changes can put you at risk of serious health complications. Studies have shown that divorced people are approximately 20 percent more likely to suffer from life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, or even cancer. That is why it is especially important to be mindful of what you put into your body, even if it may seem like a “quick fix” or provide instant relief. 

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Northwest Cook County divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In the wake of your divorce, the thought of rejoining the dating scene may seem unappealing and unrealistic, but as the months or years go by, you may find yourself longing for the companionship that you once had in past relationships. Many divorcees find a new partner without even looking through work, friends, or their involvement in the community. But just because you meet someone does not mean that you feel the need to get married again. Whether it is a result of trauma from your past marriage or simply a sense of content with your current situation, you may opt to be a lifelong partner rather than taking on the title “husband” or “wife” again. You may think that your dating life no longer concerns your former spouse; however, your new relationship can affect the details of your divorce agreement.

Spousal Maintenance

Most divorces include the payment of spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, from one spouse to the other. The purpose of this financial support is to ease the transition from sharing finances throughout your marriage to becoming financially independent. When the court determines the details of spousal maintenance, they typically leave the payment period open-ended. This does not mean, however, that the payments are completely indefinite. There are a number of factors that can lead to the termination of spousal maintenance, including cohabitation with a new partner. This does not mean that if you move in with a friend or roommate, your former spouse will no longer owe you alimony. Once you have moved in with a new partner “on a resident, continuing conjugal basis,” the paying party can request to terminate his or her financial support obligations.

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