As of August 1, 2016, a new subdivision has been added to Minnesota’s spousal maintenance statute solidifying this idea as statutory. Minn. Stat. § 518.552 Subd. 6 permits the obligor of spousal maintenance to pursue a modification of the monthly amount “based on the cohabitation by the maintenance obligee with another adult following the dissolution of the marriage.” Minn. Stat. § 518.522 Subd. 6. The modification may include:
- A Reduction;
- A Suspension;
- A Reservation; or
- “whether the obligee would marry the cohabitant but for the maintenance award;
- the economic benefit the oblige derives from the cohabitation;
- the length of the cohabitation and the likely future duration of the cohabitation; and
- the economic impact on the obligee if maintenance is modified and the cohabitation ends.”
Minn. Stat. 518.552 Subd. 6 (a)(1)-(4). However, there are some pitfalls to applying these factors:
- “The court must not modify a maintenance award based solely on cohabitation if a marriage between the obligee and the cohabitant would be prohibited,” which in other words, means that the cohabitant is a family member. Minn. Stat. 518.552 Subd. 6 (b);
- “A modification under this subdivision must be precluded or limited to the extent the parties have entered into a private agreement,” which is usually described as when the parties agree to a Karon waiver under Minn. Stat. 518.552 Subd. 5; and lastly
- A motion to modify a spousal maintenance award on the basis of cohabitation may not:
- be brought within one year of the date of entry of the decree of dissolution or legal separation that orders spousal maintenance; unless
- the parties have agreed in writing that a motion may be brought; or
- the court finds a failing to allow the motion to proceed would create an extreme hardship for one of the parties.
Minn. Stat. 518.552 Subd. 6 (b)-(c). Notwithstanding these limitations, if you or someone you know that may have a spousal maintenance award that is eligible for modification under Minnesota’s not-so new cohabitation law, please give us a call at 952-445-2817, and one of our experienced attorney’s will be able to assist you.