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Senate brings alimony modifications to Minnesota

Recently, the Minnesota Senate voted to pass a bill calling for reforms of the existing alimony laws. The Cohabitation Alimony Reform bill allows someone who is paying spousal maintenance to request that payments be reduced or ended if the receiver has a live-in partner. Those who wish to file a petition may do so only after the divorce has been final for one year.

Previously spousal support between divorced partners could continue indefinitely even if the supported spouse was cohabitating with someone else. Some called this outdated since it was based on a time in history where women stayed home and, once divorced, had no other financial support except alimony. These days, women may have successful careers of their own, and in some cases, they may provide support to their ex-husbands.

However, it becomes a source of frustration when a divorced person must pay a former spouse who is in a committed relationship and living with someone else. For some this may mean thousands of dollars of support a month for the rest of their lives. In several other states, cohabitation is considered grounds for ending spousal support altogether.

The reforms have protections in place for those in Minnesota who genuinely rely on alimony despite their cohabitation. Supporting spouses will be required to file motions and bring evidence to court to have payments reduced or terminated. Whether one pays support or receives it, facing a day in court may be daunting. Having an attorney experienced in family law proceedings is reassuring to many who are dealing with complex spousal support questions.

Source: startribune.com, "In Minnesota, a 'common sense' change in alimony", Gail Rosenblum, May 22, 2016

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