How Long After a Divorce Can You Ask for Alimony in Minnesota?
Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a payment made by one spouse to the other spouse after a divorce. Alimony is awarded to provide financial assistance to a spouse who earns significantly less and needs support. However, many people wonder if they can ask for alimony after their divorce is already finalized.
Alimony is usually determined during the divorce proceedings. So, can you request alimony after your divorce is completed in Minnesota? Let’s take a closer look at what the law says regarding alimony after a divorce has been finalized.
When is Alimony Typically Awarded in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, either spouse can request alimony during the divorce process. The court may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other if the receiving spouse lacks sufficient property and assets to maintain their standard of living during the marriage and is unable to be self-supporting through employment.
Several factors are considered by the court when awarding alimony, including:
- Resources of each spouse and their ability to meet needs independently
- Time needed for the supported spouse to gain education or training to find employment
- Age, physical, and emotional health of each spouse
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Contributions as a homemaker or to the other spouse’s career
Based on these factors, the court decides whether alimony should be awarded. The court also determines the amount and duration of alimony payments in the divorce decree.
There are 3 main types of alimony in Minnesota: temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent.
Temporary alimony is Provided during the divorce process for financial support. It ends when the divorce is finalized. Rehabilitative alimony is time-limited alimony to help the receiving spouse become self-supporting. Permanent alimony provides ongoing support for a spouse who is unable to be self-supporting.
So, generally, alimony is determined and ordered as part of the original divorce decree in Minnesota. But what if you didn’t request alimony during your initial divorce case?
Can You Ask for Alimony After Your Divorce is Final?
In most cases, you cannot request alimony after your divorce judgment has been entered in Minnesota. Once the divorce is completed and the court has issued final orders, decisions regarding alimony and property division are usually considered binding.
There are limited exceptions where a spouse may be able to revisit the issue of alimony after a divorce is finalized:
The Divorce Decree Allowed for Future Alimony
If your divorce decree specifically gave the court jurisdiction to award alimony in the future, you may be able to request alimony even after the divorce is final. This type of provision is not common but can be included if there is uncertainty about a spouse’s future ability to be self-supporting.
Minnesota law allows for modifications of prior alimony orders if a substantial change renders the existing order unreasonable. To seek an alimony modification after divorce, you must prove:
- A substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the divorce decree
- The change makes the current order unreasonable
- You were not able to anticipate this change at the time of the initial divorce
Examples of changed circumstances could include a job loss, disability, or major illness of one spouse. You must file a motion with the court to modify alimony after a divorce. The court will review the change in circumstances and determine if modifying the original alimony order is justified.
The Divorce Decree Was Silent on Alimony
If your divorce decree did not mention alimony, it may be possible to seek alimony later on. You would need to petition the court and prove a substantial change in circumstances from the time of the divorce judgment.
This can be difficult to prove if many years have passed. The court will consider factors like whether a spouse could work and become self-supporting at the time of the divorce.
Overall, seeking alimony after a divorce has been finalized is challenging in Minnesota. Your best option is to raise the issue of alimony and fully litigate it during your initial divorce case before the final decree.
How Does Cohabitation Impact Alimony in Minnesota?
Many states, including Minnesota, have passed laws that allow alimony to be modified or terminated if the receiving spouse begins cohabiting with a new partner after divorce.
In 2016, Minnesota passed the Cohabitation Alimony Reform Bill to address issues that arise when a supported spouse is living with a new boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other. Under this law, if you are paying spousal maintenance, you may be able to reduce, suspend, or end payments if your ex-spouse is cohabiting.
The earliest you can seek to modify alimony due to cohabitation is after your ex-spouse has been living with a new partner for at least 12 consecutive months. You will need to provide evidence to the court that:
- Your ex-spouse is in a marriage-like relationship with the new partner
- Your ex-spouse has reduced financial needs due to cohabitation
- Continuing full alimony payments would be unfair under the circumstances
If you meet these burdens of proof, the court has the discretion to decrease or terminate alimony obligations. This prevents a supported spouse from avoiding marriage to continue receiving alimony.
How Can Martine Law Help With Alimony in Minnesota?
- Determining if you may qualify for alimony during divorce
- Negotiating a favorable alimony settlement
- Drafting alimony provisions in your divorce decree
- Modifying alimony after substantial changes in circumstances
- Ending alimony due to your ex-spouse’s cohabitation
We will thoroughly evaluate your situation and provide strategic guidance tailored to your specific needs. Our goal is to obtain the maximum spousal support you deserve while minimizing future disputes.
Don’t navigate this complex process alone. Contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. We have the knowledge and resources to help protect your financial future after divorce.