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Bill that could alter MN alimony law passes committee

Alimony is a contentious topic. Whether you have been ordered to pay spousal maintenance or are the recipient, the subject tends to inspire strong opinions. Alimony, as it is still commonly referred, is used to provide assistance to a spouse who earned less, or in some cases, no income during the marriage. It is designed to allow them to retain a reasonable standard of living and for some, to reenter the workforce.

Minnesota calls alimony "spousal maintenance" and the statutes divide the maintenance into three types. They is temporary, short-term and long-term. The type ordered will depend on various factors, such as the current employment and income of each spouse, the education and skill set of the receiving spouse and the length of the marriage.

Temporary maintenance may be ordered during the divorce proceeding and short-term maintenance may also be ordered to provide that spouse the time to obtain additional education or training that permits them to find work.

Long-term support has become less likely to be ordered, as more women have entered the workforce and continue to work during their marriage. Typically, the marriage has to have lasted at least 10 years, and the receiving spouse has little prospect of finding work. If a wife remained home and raised children were to divorce during her 50s, she may have a difficult time finding any job that would replace the marital income.

This legislative session, a bill has passed a house committee that would eliminate long-term spousal maintenance in some cases, as when the other spouse begins cohabitating with another person.

While some women with high-incomes and who have been ordered to pay this type of maintenance, support the measure, others worry that such law could have a more detrimental effect on many women after a divorce.

Source: Minnesota.cbslocal.com, "Alimony Reform Bill Passes House Committee," Pat Kessler, March 29, 2016

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