Overview

Spouses have the option to come to a private agreement that will waive spousal maintenance altogether, called a Karon waiver. This means that both spouses voluntarily agree that they do not need financial support from each other. If a spouse waives spousal support, they are unable to return to court at a later date and request maintenance no matter the circumstance.

In some cases, a spouse may decide to waive maintenance in exchange for a favorable property award. This also means that if you agree to a temporary spousal maintenance award with a Karon waiver, the length of the award cannot be extended or become permanent. This private agreement is usually included in the divorce decree and will prevent the court from being able to modify or terminate the maintenance award outlined in the decree. Of course, these private agreements may also be entered into after the decree has been finalized.

A waiver of spousal maintenance is called a “Karon Waiver” because these private agreements were established by Minnesota courts in the case Karon v. Karon, 435 N.W.2d 501 (Minn. 1989). It is important that such a waiver of spousal maintenance is properly worded in order to prevent the court from finding that the maintenance award may be modified at a later date. Because the wording of these private agreements is so important, a Karon waiver should only be entered into after obtaining legal advice.

Pros and cons of a Karon waiver

The pros and cons of entering into a Karon waiver will depend on your specific situation. However, the upside for the paying spouse is typically the predictability that the spousal maintenance award will never change. The downside to this is that even if the paying spouse’s financial situation worsens, they will not be able to get the modification they may need.

For the spouse receiving spousal maintenance, the upside is that they have the predictability and stability of knowing that they are guaranteed a certain amount. However, if they later are in need of more maintenance or the financial situation of the paying spouse greatly improves, they will not be able to seek an increase in maintenance.

Determining whether a private agreement is right for you requires the assistance of an experienced attorney who will watch out for your best interests. At Clausen & Hassan, our lawyers pride themselves on how they serve our clients. If you have a question about a Karon Waiver, please reach out today for your free consultation—you can call our office at (651) 647-0087 or contact us by email at info@clausen-hassan.com.