Do I Have to Pay Alimony to My Long-Term Partner if We Were Never Married? 

Posted on in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1809323122.jpgEven after they have cohabitated for years, raised children, and owned property, for one reason or another, many couples in Illinois decide never to get married. When couples who are traditionally married get divorced, one partner may be ordered by the court to pay alimony, or, as it is known in Illinois, “spousal support.” But do Kane County couples who were never married deal with spousal support when they break up? 

Unmarried Partners Do Not Pay Alimony When They Break Up

The only partners eligible for spousal support are those who were legally married - and even then, courts do not automatically grant spousal support, but instead examine a couple’s situation and determine whether spousal support would be appropriate. Spousal support payments are more common after longer marriages in which one partner made significantly more than the other, or when one partner gave up educational or economic prospects to raise children. 

Separated Unmarried Parents Do Pay Child Support 

A parent’s legal obligation to financially provide for their child does not end simply because a relationship ends. Separated domestic partners should make sure that they obtain a legally enforceable court order for child support. Otherwise, they put themselves and their children at risk of not getting the money they need. While some couples may prefer to avoid court altogether and stick with a verbal child support agreement, if the paying parent stops making payments for any reason, the verbal agreement is not enforceable. 

Consider a Cohabitation Agreement

Couples who do not want to get married, but who still plan on co-owning property and raising children together, would be wise to create a cohabitation agreement. This is a contract between a couple that lays out the financial rights and obligations of each partner if the relationship ends because of a breakup or the death of one partner. Cohabitation agreements usually deal primarily with financial issues, but can also discuss parental roles. If the relationship ends, however, a court-ordered parenting agreement trumps any parenting issues mentioned in the cohabitation agreement. 

Talk to a Kane County Alimony Lawyer

Understanding when spousal support may be ordered is important for planning the end of your relationship. If you need help with family law matters, an experienced Kane County family law attorney with Shaw Sanders, P.C. can help you get answers to your questions and represent you in court. Call us today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free initial case review today. 



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