Cohabitation – New Spousal Maintenance Statute

On May 19, 2016, Governor Dayton signed into law a major reform in spousal maintenance.  

Prior to August 1, 2016, individuals ordered to pay spousal maintenance bristled at the idea that their ex-spouse was co-habiting, sharing expenses, and there was very little they could do about it. And those who were receiving the spousal maintenance were able to blissfully live with a new significant other and not worry too much about their spousal maintenance being eliminated.  As of August 1, 2016 that will all change.  

Under the new statute, spousal maintenance may be modified by a reduction, suspension, reservation or termination based upon cohabitation.  The statute will look at four (4) factors in determining the cohabitation, namely:

  1. Whether the obligee would marry the cohabitant but for the maintenance award;
  2. The economic benefit the obligee derives from the cohabitation;
  3. The length of the cohabitation and the likely future duration of the cohabitation; and
  4. The economic impact on the obligee if maintenance is modified and the cohabitation ends.

The statute also states that you cannot bring a motion to modify under this statute for at least a year after your divorce is final, unless you specifically agree otherwise.

This is a new and very interesting piece of legislation that changes how spousal maintenance will be negotiated.  

If you have questions related to spousal maintenance, dissolution of marriage, child custody questions, or parenting time concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office (952) 224-9410