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How Will Minnesota’s New Alimony Laws Affect You?

If you pay or receive spousal maintenance payments in this state, then listen up. Spousal maintenance laws in Minnesota recently received a facelift. This facelift could mean the end of your spousal maintenance payments.

Spousal maintenance—“alimony” in common terms—is financial support that one ex-spouse pays to another after divorcing (and sometimes while legally separated). These payments can last anywhere from a few months until retirement and beyond. The length of time all depends on the unique circumstances of each individual couple.

In the past, the most common ways alimony payments ended were either through remarriage or upon meeting a predetermined termination date. With Minnesota’s new alimony law, however, things are changing.

Cohabitation and Alimony Payments

Toward the end of the 2016 legislative period, Minnesota’s legislature enacted a new statute that enables the ex-spouse who is paying support to request payment termination on the basis of cohabitation. The paying ex-spouse must no longer pay alimony to the receiving ex-spouse who now lives with a new partner.

Live-in relationships have historically had no impact on alimony payments—only remarriage has. With this law, legislators are attempting to level an inequity that currently exists with certain ex-spouses who benefit from both alimony payments and the improved financial situation that often comes with cohabitation.

What the Court Will Look at Now

With this alimony reform comes a number of new factors that judges must consider when facing spousal maintenance modification requests, including:

  • The economic benefit the recipient ex-spouse gets from the cohabitation relationship
  • Whether the cohabitating partners would marry if the alimony payments didn’t exist
  • The economic impact that would occur to the recipient ex-spouse if payments stopped and the cohabitation relationship ended

None of these factors are quite clear-cut, which means it is more important than ever to work with an experienced family law attorney when handling any alimony modification request.

Questions? We Can Help.

To learn how Minnesota’s new alimony laws may affect you, speak with a family lawyer who knows about the updates and can help you navigate any potential payment modifications.