Contemplating divorce raises many issues including the question of whether alimony is allowed in Minnesota. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the process and how payments are determined.
Is Minnesota an alimony (aka “spousal maintenance”) state?
Paying or receiving alimony is possible, as courts in Minnesota can order one spouse to make payments to another for many reasons. This is the essence of what alimony is, the correct term for which in Minnesota is spousal maintenance or maintenance. These are payments made during a separation and divorce and possibly afterward. Spousal maintenance is always awarded on a case-by-case basis according to the individual circumstances, and judges have much discretion in determining what is appropriate.
Different kinds of spousal maintenance (temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent)
Spousal maintenance payments can be ordered on a temporary basis to cover the divorce proceedings, rehabilitative to cover job retraining and entering the job market, or permanent in rarer cases. Permanent spousal maintenance payments are not typically awarded when the marriage lasted less than ten years (of course, there are always exceptions).
Factors to determine spousal maintenance amount
Spousal maintenance amounts are determined by the facts of the circumstances of the parties and preparation is key to presenting your point of view. Often the payments will be to aid the spouse that is financially disadvantaged, due to the divorce, specifically, the spouse who lacks resources to get back on their feet. Temporary payments may be just to keep things afloat during the proceedings. Rehabilitative payments are often focused on a non-working spouse getting the training, education, or job search time to get to a financially independent situation at which point spousal maintenance payments will typically cease. The court is not prohibited from awarding permanent spousal maintenance in either of these two types of cases, due to the discretion afforded the court.
Being realistic about spousal maintenance
Spousal maintenance is an issue that can be very emotional. It is important to present your case well given the degree of judicial discretion and lack of guidelines, but it is also important to recognize the reality of when spousal maintenance will and will not be ordered. Judges make these orders so that no-one is left destitute and that is the primary consideration. It is not intended to be a referendum of who was at fault in the marriage. If you are the high-earning spouse and the other party has no immediate way to make a living, you can expect to make some payments. If you expect spousal maintenance for putting up with someone’s bad habits, you are not going to get it unless you can demonstrate that you need it to get back on your feet.
You can find a family law attorney that will provide you the legal assistance you need. Check out our blog to learn more about spousal support and other issues relating to divorce in Minnesota, and contact SeilerSchindel, PLLC for a consultation if you need legal assistance.
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