Are You Obligated to Make Spousal Maintenance Payments if Your Ex Remarries?

When a couple splits up, sometimes one party is ordered to pay spousal maintenance (sometimes called alimony) to the other. Spousal maintenance is a form of spousal support meant to address financial inequalities between the couple or compensate a spouse for his or her contributions during the marriage. Although spousal maintenance payments are not uncommon following a divorce, they are not an automatic right and they do not necessarily continue indefinitely.

Even when a spouse is awarded spousal maintenance payments on an ongoing monthly basis, this does not mean that the arrangement cannot be modified. A number of factors can arise that may nullify the need for spousal maintenance and allow the supporting spouse to petition for a change in his or her obligations. A major event that affects a supported spouse’s right to spousal maintenance is remarriage.

Under Minnesota law, when a supported spouse remarries, the former spouse is no longer required to continue making spousal maintenance payments. The reason for this is because spousal maintenance is predicated on the idea that spouse’s provide support for one another. When a person remarries, he or she is not entitled to support from both their current and former spouse.

Unlike other events that may serve as a basis for modifying a spousal maintenance arrangement, remarriage does not require that the supporting spouse petition to end his or her obligation. In fact, the ex-spouse can simply cease making monthly payments without filing any type of paperwork or seeking permission from the court. If, however, the divorce agreement called for a lump sum spousal maintenance payment, that spouse must still make this payment regardless of the remarriage.

If a supported spouse moves in with a new boyfriend or girlfriend but does not marry him or her, the supporting spouse must petition the court for spousal maintenance adjustments. The obligation to pay does not automatically terminate as it would with remarriage.

To learn more about spousal maintenance laws and spousal support agreements, contact the experienced Minnesota divorce lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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