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Minn. House committee OKs anti-permanent alimony bill

Last month, we shared a post about permanent spousal maintenance in Minnesota, and some critics’ views of it. At the time, Rep. Peggy Scott was preparing to introduce a bill at the Legislature that would make it easier for someone paying alimony with no end date to get the payments cancelled.

In an update, WCCO-TV recently reported that Scott’s bill passed a House committee late in March. If the bill eventually becomes law, it would allow a former spouse to request an end to a permanent alimony order if the person’s ex has moved in with a romantic partner, a status known as “cohabiting.” Some observers say that cohabiting, instead of getting married, is a way to enjoy the financial benefits of living with a partner while still collecting alimony.

The WCCO story shares a couple of examples of people living in apparent financial comfort while their ex must continue paying them alimony. It certainly sounds unfair, but restricting permanent alimony could backfire, particularly on women, who are more likely to struggle after divorce, according to Rep. Debra Hilstrom.

Just four states have imposed limits on permanent spousal maintenance. Generally, alimony is supposed to provide a divorced person with no source of income a financial safety net until he or she can be self-supporting. In some cases, when the spouse can show that he or she will never be able to work, such as an older homemaker, the court will award permanent alimony.

Alimony can be a tricky subject for both parties to a divorce, and both sides will need an experienced divorce attorney to help them achieve their goals.

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