Minnesota Alimony Reform
Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:19 am
Welcome the great state of Minnesota to the fight for alimony reform!
"Welcome CFLAP, Yahoo Groups, and Alliance members!"
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/03/0 ... ny-reform/Minnesota Lawmaker Pushes For Alimony Reform
March 7, 2016 9:58 PM By Jennifer Mayerle
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Alimony, or spousal maintenance, is a hot-button, emotionally charged issue for people on both sides of divorce. It can pit the payer and the payee against each other.
Now, the push for alimony reform has made its way to Minnesota. A lawmaker wants to update the law, calling it outdated, and some permanent payments unfair. And one man hopes his story will help move Minnesota’s law into the 21st century.
“I was just a kid, I was 19-years-old when I got married,” Michael Thomas said.
Thomas’ first marriage ended in divorce, after 20 years, and three kids.
“It’s a painful part of life, it’s difficult to talk about,” Thomas said.
What has become increasingly more difficult for the dentist is what he agreed to in the divorce: permanent spousal maintenance.
“You basically get two parties. One party that is ‘Hey, I’ve got this income for life guaranteed by the state’ and the other party is saying ‘Well I’ve got to pay until I die,’” Thomas said.
At the time of the divorce, Thomas thought the maintenance would be adjusted if there was a change in circumstance.
A few years ago Thomas learned his ex-wife sold their marital home and bought a condo in Florida, and she was living with her fiancé.
Thomas found out he still had to pay. A judge wouldn’t decrease his $5,200 monthly payment.............
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/03/2 ... committee/Alimony Reform Bill Passes House Committee
March 29, 2016 4:41 PM By Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota House Committee approved Tuesday a bill that could dramatically change the way some divorced spouses pay alimony.
The proposed law could end permanent spousal maintenance if your ex moves in with a romantic partner.
That’s what happened to Dr. Michael Thomas, a dentist from Marshall, Minnesota.
He reported paying his ex-wife $5,200 a month, even though she bought a Florida condo and moved in with her boyfriend.
Now, a bill by Rep. Peggy Scott would allow a court to modify or terminate spousal maintenance if the ex is cohabitating with another person, and was awarded alimony under different circumstances.
And it’s not only men who are affected.
“I feel like a prisoner stuck in a nightmare that never ends,” said Anne Thompson, of Roseville, who said she’s paying $1,200 a month in permanent alimony to her ex-husband, who lives with his girlfriend and doesn’t work.
“I can’t afford to pay for my 19-year-old son’s college education or to plan for my own retirement,” she said.
Stephen Valentine told lawmakers a similar story, after his ex-wife’s new boyfriend moved into her house.
“My ex-wife is able to support the boyfriend, while he lives in our house for free,” Valentine said, “and I must provide the financial support for their lifestyle.”
Thomas started a website to change the laws. It’s called Minnesota Alimony Reform and it collects what it calls “nightmare stories.”
But some lawmakers showed little sympathy on Tuesday, noting such a law change could backfire on women, many of whom struggle after divorce..................
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/04/0 ... ota-group/Massachusetts Alimony Reform Founder Speaks To Minnesota Group
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The push for alimony reform has made its way to Minnesota. Supporters got advice from someone with experience on the topic on Saturday.
Steve Hitner, the founder of Massachusetts Alimony Reform talked to the Minnesota group in Edina this afternoon....
http://www.startribune.com/rosenblum-in ... 380178801/In Minnesota, a 'common sense' change in alimony
by GAIL ROSENBLUM
MAY 22, 2016
While transportation and public safety dominated the waning days of the 2016 legislative session, our elected officials quietly — and surprisingly quickly — shifted ground on the home front.
Alimony reform has come to Minnesota.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted, 45-12, in support of the Cohabitation Alimony Reform bill. The measure allows for modifications to the long-held practice of spousal support post-divorce when recipients of the money are clearly sharing their homes and lives with a new significant other.
Those making the payments can go back to court a year after a divorce is final to seek reductions, suspensions or complete terminations.
The bill passed resoundingly, 112-9, in the House earlier in May, led by co-author Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, who called it “just so common sense.”
Gov. Mark Dayton was expected to sign the bill into law before the Legislature adjourns on Monday.
It comes none too soon. Cohabitation is common today, and we’re decades beyond an era where divorce was based on fault, and women typically were stay-at-home mothers whose economic security post-divorce depended on that essential financial support...............
http://www.startribune.com/rosenblum-al ... 390454401/Rosenblum: Alimony reform bill draws concerns and calls
By: GAIL ROSENBLUM
M. Sue Wilson didn’t need a calendar to know that Aug. 1 had arrived.
Wilson, a Twin Cities family law attorney for four decades, had barely started her workday when she learned that a female client had been served by her former husband.
The Minnesota Cohabitation Alimony Reform law went into effect the first day of August, and “there’s a whole lot of action going on,” Wilson said.
The law allows judges to end, alter or suspend spousal maintenance (also called alimony) if recipients are found to be living in a committed relationship with a significant other.
Supporters of the change say too many people take advantage of the system — and their exes — by cohabitating instead of marrying so that spousal maintenance payments continue.
Judges now can consider whether the person receiving alimony would marry if not for the maintenance award.
“The guys coming to see me aren’t ‘mad dads.’ They’re really upstanding guys who never missed a payment,” said Wilson, who testified in both houses of the Minnesota Legislature in support of the new law.
“They just feel so ripped off, and I don’t really blame them.”
Other attorneys are seeing a more cautious approach by their clients.
“No motions yet — nobody wants to be the first,” said Edina-based collaborative attorney Ron Ousky.
Still, he said, the law “is a welcome thing” that is having a positive effect by encouraging couples to be proactive and draw up divorce decrees that keep them out of court down the road.
Bill Wilder, who divorced in May 2014 and lost his six-figure job three months later, supports the law. But he told me that he’s waiting “to see if someone else is successful” before he decides whether to file a motion for a reduction in spousal maintenance payments.
He said he took a $47,000 pay cut with his current job, yet he still is required to pay $6,000 a month in spousal support, plus $1,000 a month in back pay for the six months he was out of work.
He’s racking up credit card debt, “which will keep going until I am forced to declare bankruptcy,” he said, clearly frustrated.
“Alimony is not inherently bad,” said the father of two, “but this can’t be about getting paid to not get married.”
He continued, “Judicial oversight needs to hold the parties accountable.”
Some say the law doesn’t go far enough. They point to states with more bite, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, which passed sweeping changes in 2011 and 2014, respectively, and Illinois, which has long considered the recipient’s cohabitation with another person a reason to end payments..........