Modification of Spousal Maintenance

Life brings frequent and sometimes unexpected changes. In some cases, these changes may affect court mandated spousal maintenance awards. Here’s a little information about the legal process Minnesota courts employ to determine if modification to an existing spousal maintenance award is warranted.

A two part-test must be satisfied before Minnesota courts will permit modification to an existing spousal maintenance award. First, courts will examine whether there has been a “substantial change in circumstance.” This may be established by showing, for example, that your ex-spouse now earns substantially more in income than at the time of the divorce.

Second, if the court is satisfied that there has been a substantial change in circumstance, then the court will consider whether the change makes the existing maintenance award unreasonable and unfair. The individual requesting the court to modify spousal maintenance has the burden of establishing both parts of this test before modification may be granted.

In some instances, however, modification is not appropriate even when the above test is satisfied. You should consult an attorney if you feel that your current situation requires modification of your spousal maintenance award.

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