Sunday, February 19, 2017

Minnesota Alimony Reform - Good News

Some good news for once. A working task force with Minnesota Alimony Reform, the Minnesota Bar, Family Section of the Minnesota Bar, the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an attorney representing legal aide for lower income individuals,  a Senator to be named and Rep. Peggy Scott has been formed to craft comprehensive reform of Minnesota's spousal maintenance laws.

This is exactly the path Massachusetts followed to achieve reform back in 2009. Many state initiatives has failed because they have tried to push through legislation without the involvement of the bar association and divorce lawyer groups. In my discussions with lawyers and legislators many understand the fundamental injustice of the current system and are supportive of reform. But the political reality is that without widespread support from legal groups there is a reluctance to move on the issue. Political inertia is often underappreciated.

The goal is to introduce comprehensive legislation when the 2018 legislative session begins in January.  Specifically:
1. Eliminate permanent spousal maintenance from the statute.
2. Add durational guidelines - limit alimony based on the length of the marriage.
3.  Retirement shall end the spousal maintenance obligation.
4.  A second spouses income never allowed to be a factor in a modification.
5.  If the legislative intent of our Cohabitation Alimony Reform Law passed last year is not met... fix it.

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