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How Cohabitation Can Affect Spousal MaintenanceSpousal maintenance payments established in a divorce agreement are terminated if the recipient party remarries. There is no argument that the remarried party has a new source of income and no longer needs their former spouse to pay for their living expenses. A court may also terminate maintenance if the recipient is in a de facto marriage, meaning that the couple is not legally married but behaves as if they are. The spousal maintenance payor is responsible for proving that a de facto marriage exists and that maintenance payments are no longer appropriate.

Proving a De Facto Marriage

There is a difference between an intimate relationship and a de facto marriage. Illinois courts look for several signs that a relationship is behaving like a marriage, such as a couple:

  • Living together;
  • Having a long-standing relationship;
  • Sharing financial accounts and expenses;
  • Spending holidays and vacations together; and
  • Acting like co-parents to the children.

A court will need proof of several factors in order to conclude that a de facto marriage exists. Cohabitation is important evidence but may not be enough on its own.

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Continuing to Live with Your Ex After DivorceLeaving your marital home after your divorce can be difficult for both personal and financial reasons. Personally, you may no longer be living with your children and will see them less often. Financially, you will need to pay for a new home after previously investing in your marital home. If you think it would be easier to continue to live in your marital home with your former spouse, understand that there is a precedent for this living arrangement. However, you will need to settle legal issues and figure out how you can live separately within the same home.

How It Works

Divorcees who stay in the same home choose their own living areas where they can have privacy from each other. They can create a schedule for when they will use common areas, such as the kitchen. As part of the divorce agreement, they can clarify who is responsible for:

  • Upkeep of the home;
  • Purchasing food;
  • Paying bills; and
  • Deciding on changes to the home.

If they have children in the home, they will need a parenting agreement to determine when each parent will be responsible for the children. The schedule may look similar to one that the parents would have created if they were living separately.

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Posted on in Paternity

Parental Rights Without MarriageYou do not need to plan on marriage in order for family law to be useful. Cohabiting couples share their lives in many of the same ways as those who marry. This includes having children, which will tie the two people together even if they separate. A co-parent who never married is responsible for child support payments if the couple lives apart. However, there are benefits to being married parents that unmarried parents do not automatically receive. Unmarried couples must proactively use family law to gain equal rights as parents.

Establishing Parentage

When a married woman has a child, her husband is assumed to be the father. A biological father who is not married to the mother must identify himself as the father in order to have paternal rights. The father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form immediately after the child’s birth. In some situations, only one person is the biological parent. The other partner can apply for adoption to become a legal parent. Establishing parentage grants several rights regarding the child, including:

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