Hi all. It's been a long time but I'm back looking for some expert advice.
Backstory: Ex moved out to live with another man 600 miles away in 2012. The man was previously her mother's boyfriend to live with my ex. I have full physical custody of S16. Spousal maintenance set in 2013 at $1,350 month (no end date) that is inclusive of child support so no checks coming my way except 1/3 medical. I make low $90k's; ex was set to start $35k job when she left but instead took $9k PT job. Documentation from court shows ex claimed $3k+ monthly living expenses to move out and support herself on her own in a bigger city to find better employment. This was used for agreement on spousal maintenance.
Fast forward to now. Ex lives with same man working same job but now FT for about $20k a year (still strategically below 1.5 minimum wage used for salary calculations). However I believe the man she lives with pays almost all bills leaving ex with $36k that is almost all expendable income for her. Our divorce decree states we must do mediation before court on issues. I have documentation that I have asked her to discuss it with me and three times demanded mediation but ex has refused. My son has a high cost medical condition and I am also living in the same house to keep him in his school district (and for comfort for him). I live conservatively but I'm buried in debt and am at a breaking point for keeping current on bills (all of which are I believe are fair and reasonable).
A new law August 1 in Minnesota states:
Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.552, is amended by adding a subdivision to read:
(a) Spousal maintenance may be modified pursuant to section 518A.39, subdivision 2, based on the cohabitation by the maintenance obligee with another adult following dissolution of the marriage. The modification may consist of a reduction, suspension, reservation, or termination of maintenance. In determining if maintenance should be modified due to cohabitation, the court shall consider:
(1) whether the obligee would marry the cohabitant but for the maintenance award;
(2) the economic benefit the obligee derives from the cohabitation;
(3) the length of the cohabitation and the likely future duration of the cohabitation; and
(4) the economic impact on the obligee if maintenance is modified and the cohabitation ends.
(b) The court must not modify a maintenance award based solely on cohabitation if a marriage between the obligee and the cohabitant would be prohibited under section 517.03, subdivision 1, clause (2) or (3). A modification under this subdivision must be precluded or limited to the extent the parties have entered into a private agreement under subdivision 5.
(c) A motion to modify a spousal maintenance award on the basis of cohabitation may not be brought within one year of the date of entry of the decree of dissolution or legal separation that orders spousal maintenance, unless the parties have agreed in writing that a motion may be brought or the court finds that failing to allow the motion to proceed would create an extreme hardship for one of the parties.
My concern is this: Ex demanded and then released three therapists for S16 that is still angry at ex for leaving with no forewarning. Alcohol was also an issue before and since she left. The last therapist was working well until ex came to town last year for < parenting time > and filed in court to release therapist. This occurred with no prior conversation with me or therapist. She bypassed all conditions from divorce decree to discuss the issue: First between us; then informally with judge (phone conference if necessary); then mediation. She even passed the filing deadline for us to respond but judge dismissed therapist with no input from the him and granted overnight visits to ex (which the therapist wasn't yet recommending). I felt pegged as the villain in court for wanting to continue therapy which was beneficial to S16. Since that time ex has still not done an overnight when visiting (I keep persuading her) but told me she wanted to get it on paper. I think I'm a good dad and S16 is doing very well but as you can see the judge does not seem very fond of me. I think she is a good judge but believes ex is victim in this.
So the question is: Do I proceed at this point and reopen spousal maintenance? Any recommendations on a motion and evidence to gather/subpoena is greatly appreciated. And any other thoughts / suggestions / questions are welcome. I already have what I believe is a good plan but more information is power.
Final note: Attorney is offering flat rate on this. The plus is I get a good price for the entire process and I don't have to worry about added costs if it goes to trial. The negative is if the motion for discovery is denied I end up spending more than I would have and go deeper in debt with a weakened position for revisiting spousal maintenance.
Thanks in advance for any advice.