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Permanent alimony and post-divorce agreement modifications

Alimony or spousal maintenance is often one of the most contentiously debated issues in divorce. In fact, a number of states have begun debating alimony in light of changing times. At the center of many of the debates is permanent alimony. Permanent alimony refers to spousal maintenance that continues for the life of the recipient. Minnesota readers may find the following article on spousal maintenance interesting.

Alimony is a type of financial payment made to the lower-earning spouse in a divorce. The purpose behind alimony is to correct any potential negative economic effects that may occur due to the separation. Alimony payments can be structured in a variety of ways. This can include lump-sum payments made at the end of the divorce proceeding, temporary monthly payments and, in some states, permanent alimony.

In recent years, the issue of permanent alimony has been hotly contested in a number of states, and has even come up in Minnesota. Supporters of alimony reform often argue that the need for permanent spousal support no longer exists, while opponents of abolishing permanent alimony argue the existing law already addresses many of the proponents concerns by allowing for post-divorce agreement modifications.

In Minnesota, after an award for spousal maintenance is awarded, whether the award is for temporary or permanent maintenance, the court may modify the order on motion by either party. In order for a party to receive a modification the moving party must show that there has been a substantial increase or decrease in income of either party such that the original terms of agreement have become unreasonable and unfair.

Whenever a party wishes to seek a spousal support modification it is vital that they do so in court. It is the only way to ensure that a legal dispute will not develop down the road.

Source: Huffington Post, "Alimony Reform Laws Focus on the Exception to the Rule and to the Detriment of the American Family," Deborah S. Chames, Oct. 17, 2013

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