In some Minnesota divorces, one spouse may receive spousal maintenance (sometimes called alimony). These payments provide financial support until that individual can find a job or seek education to achieve career advancement.
These state laws determine when and how the court awards spousal support when a Minnesota couple divorces.
Types of maintenance
Minnesota courts may order temporary maintenance during the separation and before the final divorce. This may extend shortly past the divorce date if the spouse receiving support is pursuing vocational training or education.
Permanent alimony applies only to certain marriages lasting beyond 10 years. The court may also make this type of arrangement when the spouse receiving payments cannot hold a job, such as because of disability. However, the spouse who pays maintenance can request that the arrangement end if his or her financial circumstances change or the party receiving support remarries. In some cases, both parties waive their right to make future changes to spousal support.
Factors in calculating spousal support
The judge making this determination will consider:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouses’ available assets
- Each spouse’s earnings and/or potential to earn a living
- How each spouse contributed to the marriage, financially and otherwise
- Whether the spouse who earns less is seeking training or education
- The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage
- The age of each spouse
- Whether either spouse has a disabling injury or illness
Either party’s fault in the divorce does not contribute to the judge’s decision about whether to award alimony.
Parties can agree on a temporary or long-term spousal support arrangement as part of their divorce decree. However, when divorcing spouses cannot come to terms on this issue, they can ask the court to decide.
Keep in mind that Minnesota does not have specific alimony calculations. Deciding whether to award spousal support and how much is purely at the judge’s discretion and varies by the circumstances of the case.