What Does Spousal Maintenance Include In Minnesota?

What You Should Know About Alimony

Divorce is full of tough issues, including the possibility that one spouse may need to financially support the other for a while. Not surprisingly, the parties often disagree about whether spousal maintenance is necessary and, if it is indeed needed, how much should be paid for how long. 

Minnesota Terminology for Spousal Maintenance

In Minnesota, “spousal maintenance” is the correct legal term. You’ll hear and see other words for it quite often though, including alimony, spousal support, or simply “maintenance.” You can use the terms interchangeably, and we’ll do so in this article, but the legal term in Minnesota is spousal maintenance.

When Can Someone Make a Claim for Spousal Maintenance?

One spouse can request that the other pay alimony while the divorce is ongoing and/or after the divorce is finalized. Minnesota’s spousal maintenance statute allows courts to order support if the spouse seeking support:

  1. Does not have enough assets to meet their reasonable needs considering the standard of living they had while married, or
  2. Does not earn enough income to support herself/himself or has custody of a child in circumstances that make it difficult for the parent to work outside the home

How Is Spousal Support Calculated in Minnesota?

Unlike child support, there is no calculator or guideline that answers this question. Instead, courts decide how much should be paid and the length of time by evaluating many different factors. Some of these include:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Each party’s income and other resources
  • Age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • Earning power, education and skills of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • The amount of property each spouse is getting as part of the property settlement

How Long Does Alimony Last in Minnesota?

There are two types of spousal maintenance in Minnesota, with names that are rather confusing:

  1. Temporary maintenance: This is often awarded while the divorce is happening to help the recipient have enough to live on. It can also be awarded after divorce for a specific length of time, often long enough for the recipient to find work and become self-supporting.
  2. Permanent maintenance: This is probably better thought of as long-term maintenance, because actual permanent maintenance is very rare. Long-term maintenance is often awarded when the couple was married for a long time and one spouse had little income.

Long-term/permanent maintenance can be awarded for an unspecified length of time. The idea is that a party can later petition to have the award modified or terminated when the recipient spouse’s financial position is stronger. 

Contact an Alimony Lawyer in Elk River

White & Associates in Elk River helps clients resolve all aspects of divorce, including spousal maintenance. We can help you, whether you’re the one who may need to pay maintenance or you’re requesting it. If you already have a spousal maintenance order and need to change it, talk to us about modification.

To speak with one of our Minnesota spousal support lawyers, please call 763-241-0477 or contact us online. We offer a free initial consultation.

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