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Spousal maintenance – also known as spousal support or alimony – is financial assistance awarded to one partner to help them achieve financial independence. Once it’s been established, how can it be changed?

Spousal support or alimony is awarded based on factors such as the duration of the marriage, each person’s earning capacity, contribution to household or career and physical health. From the court’s perspective, ideally, once alimony has been established, the arrangement should be followed unless circumstances change significantly. Minnesota courts generally do allow for spousal maintenance payments to be modified in some instances, such as the following.

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1. Change in Financial Circumstances
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When financial circumstances change significantly – such as your ex-spouse receiving a promotion with increased income, or losing their job which causes financial struggles – the courts may revisit the spousal support order.

2. Major Life, Health or Relationships Changes
Remarriage can have a significant effect on your ex-spouse’s financial outlook. This is why if a spouse receiving maintenance remarries, your support payment will end. Also, if your ex-spouse lives with someone in a romantic relationship, this may lead to a reduction or termination of your maintenance payment.

Likewise, a health crisis or end of a health crisis can significantly change your or your ex-spouse’s financial outlook, allowing you to request adjustment of spousal support amounts.

3. End Of Order
Spousal support or alimony doesn’t always last forever. Often spouses agree on a date when support will end, or a court will order an end date. Spouses may also agree that a court cannot come back and change this end date.

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