Minnesota Adopts Law Addressing Spousal Maintenance‎ and Cohabitation

06/22/2016

Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, spousal maintenance in Minnesota can now be reduced, suspended, reserved, ‎or terminated if a person receiving maintenance lives (certain relatives excepted) with another adult.

Simply living with another adult will not change maintenance. Though courts have had the power to modify maintenance when someone lives with another adult, the past practice is now put into statute. The court is directed to consider a variety of factors — some easier than others to prove, or disprove.

  1. Whether the recipient would marry the adult but for the monthly check. This factor could prove mighty difficult to prove.
  2. The benefit the recipient receives from the cohabitation. This would be an examination of the sharing of expenses, such as rent or mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance, and utilities.
  3. The length of the cohabitation and the likely future duration. The first part is easy to demonstrate. How a court could predict “the likely future duration” seems problematic.
  4. The impact on the recipient if the amount of maintenance changes … and the cohabitation ends. A strong finding on this issue could cause a court to reserve maintenance. So if the recipient ends the cohabitation and the other adult leaves, then there could be a return for an increase in the amount of maintenance.

If you have just been divorced, and your former spouse is now living with someone else, you will have to wait. The new law provides that unless you agreed in writing (or you have a financial “extreme hardship’), you can’t try to change maintenance due to cohabitation until a year as passed since the divorce was final.