PLM Family Law

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Does cohabitation cause an end to spousal support?

A divorce can be a painful time in your life, and you may wonder if you will find love again. Many divorcees succeed at finding a new partner, so do not give up hope. Still, you may worry that a new relationship, if it progresses to cohabitation, could cost you further support from your spouse.

If you are a Minnesota resident, you should know how state law addresses this situation. You will probably not lose spousal maintenance immediately if you move in with your partner, but a court will look at some factors to determine if your support should continue or perhaps reduce in size.

How a court looks at cohabitation

Living with a partner may improve your standard of living and help you provide for yourself. If your economic benefit is substantial, a judge may conclude you do not need any more support. A court could also look at whether you would marry your partner if not for the continuance of spousal maintenance.

However, state law also stipulates that courts should look at whether a cohabitation is stable enough to endure and possibly lead to marriage. A judge may not end your support if your relationship is likely to end and you fall on hard times with suddenly little or no spousal support to help you.

When a court may modify support

If you enter into cohabitation soon after your divorce, time may delay any changes in your support modification. Minnesota law does not allow for motions to change spousal maintenance for one year after a dissolution decree or the legal separation that establishes spousal support.

Given that a new relationship could bring your support to an end, planning for your future may be of benefit. Collaboration with your ex-spouse could help you determine how to reduce your support given certain conditions and establish a time when you do not need further support.