In any Minnesota divorce, spousal maintenance – which is still often referred to as alimony – is typically one of the most emotional issues, but it doesn’t have to be. A judge can draw on thousands of family law cases to guide him or her in deciding spousal maintenance. It is important to select a lawyer wisely if spousal maintenance will be contested in your divorce.
Are you facing spousal maintenance issues in your divorce in Minnesota?
I have helped my clients resolve complex divorce issues, so I know that people have many questions about alimony awards, whether they will be required to pay, how long they will be required to pay, and what factors are used to determine how much they will be required to pay.
Factors commonly taken into consideration
Minnesota courts take testimony on a case-by-case basis, but there are some factors to consider. Among them are:
- The duration of the marriage: A marriage of only a few years is unlikely to qualify for spousal support.
- Spouses’ circumstances: A spouse seeking alimony must demonstrate that they will suffer a significant economic disadvantage without spousal maintenance, either temporary or permanent. Most judges will consider whether the obligee (receiving) spouse quit her job to be the primary caregiver for the children. A further consideration is if the obligee has the skills or education to return immediately to the workforce and earn enough money to pay for rent or mortgage payments.
- In cases of long-term marriages, judges usually award permanent spousal maintenance. There is usually a termination date or set of circumstances, such as the completion of a college degree or job training.
- The amount of support requested: Judges will not award an amount of spousal maintenance to the obligee that allows them to continue to live a comfortable life while making the obligee insolvent.
- Support requested: In divorce, neither party wins, but the courts do not want either party to become an economic burden on society. When the obligor (payer) lacks sufficient financial means, paying a monthly support check isn’t always an option. One alternative type of spousal support may consist of allowing one spouse to live in the house for a period of time until the house is sold.
- Other financial and nonfinancial circumstances: The courts will take into account other factors, such as health concerns of either spouse, family relationships, and the level of quality of life the parties have grown accustomed to.
The best outcome is often to seek a temporary award with an end date
The most important outcome is to seek a temporary award with an end date if it appears likely that the courts will consider awarding one spouse some level of maintenance. When a temporary award meets the needs and protects the rights of both parties, the courts are more likely to find it acceptable.
While the divorce is in the legal process, it is your attorney’s job to find an acceptable solution for the legal separation period. Negotiations towards a long-term solution in your final divorce judgment may continue when you reach an amicable agreement now.
More Questions about Spousal Maintenance Factors?
Contact me to schedule a free consultation by phone or email. In the nine-county Twin Cities metropolitan area and throughout Minnesota, I represent clients seeking divorce.