Write to have Minnesota’s Archaic Alimony law changed!
Do you or someone you care about pay permanent spousal maintenance? Are you a second spouse who’s income can be used to pay alimony to a first spouse? Would you like the right to retire from paying alimony? If so, please write your legislators! We have until the next legislative session, which begins in January 2017, to let our legislators know this law needs more updating. Last session’s Cohabitation Alimony Law was only a small start to reforming this part of family law that has not been updated since the early 1980’s.
Below is a sample letter. Copy and paste this example or use the downloadable Word version link.
Dear Rep. or Senator Last Name,
I write to you in regard to reforming Minnesota’s Spousal Maintenance Laws, commonly referred to as Alimony. If you supported the Cohabitation Alimony Reform law last session, I would like to thank you! The 2015-2016 session saw the passage of this law, HF1333, which allows, but does not require, the court to terminate spousal maintenance upon cohabitation in addition to the remarriage of the person receiving support. The legislation fixed a loophole that allowed many people to continue to receive spousal support despite living in a relationship that was marriage in all but name.
Although HF1333 was a good start there is much more that needs to be done to improve Minnesota’s spousal support laws. Minnesota currently has some of the most inconsistent and often unfair spousal support awards in the country. Judges have few legislative guidelines in this area and we are one of the very few states that still allow for permanent spousal support judgments.
I’ll note the arbitrary nature of spousal support awards is in stark contrast to the clear guidelines we have for child support. In recent years, the legislature has made child support laws more consistent and predictable. The same now needs to be done for spousal support laws.
Massachusetts’ alimony situation was near identical to what we have in Minnesota today prior to their passage of alimony reform in 2012. It should be noted that the reform law was passed by the Massachusetts legislature unanimously and with strong support from the Massachusetts Bar Association, including family law and female lawyer groups. If Massachusetts can make their alimony laws more just, consistent and predictable surely we can do likewise in Minnesota.
Minnesota Alimony Reform (http://mnalimonyreform.com/), of which I support, is a non-profit advocacy group of men and women who have joined together with a goal of improving Minnesota’s alimony laws in a similar manner to the successful and widely supported reforms instituted in Massachusetts. Our goals are very reasonable:
• Amend the Minnesota alimony law so Judges have clear guidelines;
• Allow alimony to end or be modified when an alimony recipient cohabitates;
• Protect the truly needy;
• Eliminate lifelong post-marital support;
• Reduce expensive and adversarial litigation battles over vague alimony rules and interpretations;
• Promote equal, consistent, and predictable application of the law, regardless of the judge presiding or the judicial district;
• Provide a payor and payee an opportunity to plan and save for retirement; by establishing a retirement age when alimony ends.
• Encourage self-sufficiency and independence for both spouses
My personal experience (or a close personal friend or family member’s) with alimony illustrate in a clear manner why spousal maintenance reform is so needed. (here in a very brief description, place the more pertinent experiences of how current law has affected you or someone you are concerned about).
Laws are supposed to be fair, just and equitably applied. When it comes to spousal support awards in Minnesota they are clearly not. Indeed there is no predictability at all in court when it comes to spousal support. As Minnesota did with child support and Massachusetts did with alimony, we desperately need to improve our statues to ensure fair treatment for all when it come to spousal support.
I encourage you to actively support spousal maintenance reform legislation.
Thank you for your time. Feel free to contact me should you desire to discuss the matter further.
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