Divorce law varies by state, and each state has its own idiosyncrasies. If you’re preparing to file for a Minnesota divorce, you may be surprised to learn about the follow peculiarities of our laws:

  1. It Doesn’t Matter Who Is “At Fault” for Your Divorce.

Minnesota follows a no-fault system when it comes to divorce. That means addiction, affairs, and abuse are not grounds for divorce; a spouse need only show an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. The courts aren’t interested in your spouse’s misconduct when it comes to property division or awarding spousal maintenance, but bad behavior may affect custody and visitation arrangements. This also means that the person initiating the divorce does not automatically have an upper hand.

  1. Are You a New Minnesota Resident? You May Not Be Able to Get Divorced Here.

Have you moved in Minnesota within the past six months? If so, the courts will reject your divorce petition. If this applies to you, you have two options: wait the six months and file again, or file in your previous home state.

  1. Calculating Spousal Maintenance Can Get Complex.

In some states, only the unemployed may receive spousal maintenance from their partners. In Minnesota, however, the courts determine alimony differently. A holistic approach looks at the length of the marriage, the current standard of living, and each partner’s ability to pay.

  1. Just Because an Asset is Titled in Your Named Doesn’t Mean You’ll Automatically Get It.

For example, Dave purchased a truck four years after he and Janet tied the knot. Although the truck is technically titled in his name, since he purchased it during the marriage, Minnesota law considers it marital property. This rule also generally applies to pensions, debt, and retirement accounts.

Divorce can be a trying time, and it’s best to approach the system proactively. An experienced Minnesota divorce attorney can help you navigate the process while protecting your best interests. Contact the skillful attorneys at Brown Law Offices for a strategic review of your legal options: 763-323-6555.

Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, allows a lower-earning spouse to retain a standard of living similar to the one that he or she enjoyed during the marriage. Once this arrangement has been established, under what circumstances can it be changed?

The alimony process aims to create fair results based on the marriage’s history, the spouses’ educational and financial backgrounds and many other factors. From the court’s perspective, ideally, once alimony has been established, the arrangement should be followed unless circumstances change drastically. Minnesota courts generally do allow for spousal maintenance payments to be modified in the following six cases.

1.    Mistakes. For example, when the court originally calculated monthly payments, a clerical error set alimony to last for two extra years. Such simple mistakes are generally easily corrected.

2.    New evidence affects your case. For instance, your ex spouse enjoys a sudden surge of income due to a promotion or, conversely, suddenly starts struggling financially after a major business deal blows up, eliminating her main source of cash flow.

3.    Fraud, misconduct, falsification of documents or misrepresentation. For instance, your spouse intentionally hid assets in part to avoid having to pay his share during the divorce.

4.    Satisfaction of the judgment or order. Spousal support is not always forever. Depending on the length of the marriage and other factors, alimony may just be a temporary measure to provide the receiving spouse with time and space to find work or retrain. Once he has completed schooling and/or obtained a job, the purpose of the spousal support is satisfied, and the court might then reduce or eliminate the monthly payments.

5.    Vacating the judgment or order. The courts can overturn a prior order and update it with a new order.

6.    Major life, health and relationship changes. For instance, the remarriage of the either spouse can dramatically affect the financial picture. If a woman receiving substantial alimony remarries a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, for instance, the court may decide that she no longer needs or qualifies for spousal maintenance.
Even when couples come to agreement about alimony outside of court, a judge can be called in to rule on the matter. In Minnesota, the judge has a significant amount of flexibility. In general, the longer the marriage lasted and the greater the income disparity, the greater the award will be.

Exceptions to Spousal Support Modification

In some cases, the parties agree ahead of time in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement or in the divorce settlement that they will not change alimony amounts, no matter the circumstances. However, the court must agree to such stipulations and determine that they are fair to both parties. Minnesota courts call this a Karon waiver based on a 1989 case.

Need Help Updating Your Spousal Maintenance?

If you want to modify to your spousal maintenance payments, call the Brown Law Office, P.A. at 763-323-6555 for a private consultation.