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Attempt to alter Minnesota law for spousal support gains traction


When a Minnesota couple chooses to move forward with the end of a marriage, there are many issues that will be in dispute. One is often a disagreement about spousal support. Bluntly, divorce is an emotional endeavor.

But, emotions can be compounded by the concern that one spouse is going to have to pay alimony to the other for an extended period, regardless of how long the marriage lasted. They might even have to pay for the remainder of their lives. Some are so distressed by this reality that they are taking steps to try and change it.

A nationwide movement to alter the way in which spousal support is determined and its length has reached Minnesota. One particular lawmaker in the state is seeking to change it because, she believes, it is an outdated method that is not fair.

One man, a dentist, is a case study in the difficult nature of spousal support. He was married when he was just reaching the end of his teen years. They stayed together for two decades, had three children and divorced. He has been paying alimony since the divorce, but soon found that his ex-wife sold the couple's marital home and moved to Florida to live with her fiancé. In spite of this, he is still being forced to pay, and there was no reduction in the $5,200 payment he has to send her each month.

The representative, Peggy Scott, is seeking to change the law to make the system fairer to a person who is in a similar situation as this particular man. The idea is to change the law for cohabitation.

As of now, the law states that a person who is not married will continue to receive maintenance. It does not adequately address cohabitation. The introduction of the new law came in the previous session, and she is planning to reintroduce it.

Divorce legal issues can be complicated, and one of the most difficult issues to navigate is spousal support. This particular case is indicative of the complexities. The dentist whose wife sold the home, left the state and found a new relationship is still stuck paying more than $5,000 each month to support her.

Given the nature of alimony and how it might be subject to change in the future, it is complicated. As a result, those who are confronted by this or a similar problems should make sure they are protected under the law, and speak to a qualified lawyer as soon as possible.

Source: CBS Minnesota, "Minnesota Lawmaker Pushes For Alimony Reform," Jennifer Mayerle, March 7, 2016

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