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Jaspers, Moriarty & Wetherille, P.A.
Seasoned Legal Judgment For The South Metro Area

August 2016 Archives

Minnesota's "New" Cohabitation Law

Minnesota’s spousal maintenance statute has just changed adding a potential new set of elements to allow a former spouse to modify a previously ordered spousal maintenance (alimony) award. The idea for the new language and changes derives from a 1979 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, and addresses a common issue arises in spousal maintenance calculation: Many recipients of spousal maintenance cohabitate with significant others and avoid marriage, effectively keeping their household income at a lower rate in order to receive a higher amount in maintenance from an ex-spouse after dissolution. For over 37 years, Minnesota case law has adopted the idea that “a meretricious relationship between a divorced spouse and another may be grounds for reducing or terminating alimony ‘in so far as it might improve an ex-spouse’s economic well-being.’” Abbott v. Abbott 282 N.W.2d 561, 564 (Minn. 1979). What does that mean? Basically if you are living together like a married couple, with the exception of actually being married, that could be grounds to modify the spousal support award.

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