Court awarded maintenance to Wife. Husband claimed that Wife had been cohabiting with her boyfriend. Now ex-Husband petitions to terminate her maintenance because of the cohabitation.
There is a rationale behind termination of maintenance when resident, continuing, conjugal cohabitation exists. It is to prevent the unfairness created when the ex-spouse receiving maintenance becomes involved in a husband-and-wife relationship but does not legally formalize it. The result is that that he or she can continue to receive maintenance.
Extensive evidence was admitted regarding the details of the ex-wife’s relationship with her then-boyfriend. Even Facebook posts. The trial court found that she was cohabitating on a resident, continuing, and conjugal basis. Ex-wife appealed. She said that she was not cohabiting.
The appellate court reversed. It agreed with ex-wife. It focused on whether the relationship was a de facto marriage. Ex-Wife was clearly in an intimate dating relationship. But, she was not in a de facto marriage.
The court focused on whether there was any intended permanence and/or mutual commitment to the relationship. The evidence clearly showed companionship and exclusive intimacy. But, there was no evidence supporting a conclusion that there was ever an intention to make the arrangement permanent.
The ex-Wife and her boyfriend vacationed together. But, it was often in group settings. They did not commingle their finances. They did not spend the night at each other’s home during the week. The relationship had ceased by the time the matter went to trial.
In re Marriage of Miller, 2015 IL App (2d) 140530.