Minnesota law allows residents who are parties in a divorce to pursue spousal maintenance. It helps make the transition to living on your own easier– if someone has spent their marriage at home caring for the house or children, for example, he or she can receive maintenance payments after a divorce.
You don’t need to have a divorce that involves extenuating circumstances to receive spousal maintenance, though. Read on below to find out more about who qualifies for spousal maintenance in Minnesota.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
You might know spousal maintenance by another name– lots of people call it alimony. Usually, it’s awarded to a party in a divorce who lacks sufficient income to meet their needs after the divorce.
Who can qualify for spousal maintenance?
Any spouse, regardless of sex, can request alimony.
Am I entitled to spousal maintenance?
The answer is probably no; but just because you’re not entitled to alimony, it doesn’t mean you won’t receive it.
- Minnesota law doesn’t entitle anybody to spousal maintenance
- Other regular payments, like child support, are based on a statutory calculator; alimony does not work this way
If you are going through a divorce, you’ll need to work with a lawyer to consider statutory factors that influence the amount and duration of spousal maintenance.
Minnesota Statute 518.552: The Ground For Awarding Spousal Maintenance
According to Minnesota statute 518.552 Subd.1, spouses requesting maintenance must prove one of the following:
- They lack sufficient property (even after they’re awarded marital property) to provide for their reasonable needs after the divorce
- They are not able to self-support via appropriate employment
The second factor also weighs child custody. If the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child from the marriage, it’s possible that they may not be able to seek out-of-home employment. That influences potential alimony payments.
I can prove one of the two grounds above– now what?
A Minnesota court will review subsection two of the statute. There are eight factors listed in this statute. The factors are meant to be used to determine whether spousal support should be temporary or permanent (and how much payments should be for how long).
- Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the higher someone’s chances of receiving permanent or long-term spousal support
- Factors that courts consider include the requesting spouse’s needs, the ability of the other spouse to pay, how long it might take the requesting spouse to get a job, etc.
The Three Types of Spousal Maintenance in Minnesota (Temporary, Short-Term, and Long-Term Alimony)
Temporary alimony allows one spouse to receive financial assistance during the divorce process itself. If someone is awarded temporary support, that support will end once the divorce is finalized by a judge.
Short-term spousal support is the most commonly-awarded form of alimony in Minnesota. It’s because most spouses in divorce are usually capable of self-supporting; they just need time to train for or acquire a new job (or more education).
Short-term alimony is beneficial in a lot of circumstances, like:
- When one spouse is finishing school
- When a spouse needs additional income because of a temporary entry-level job after divorce
- When spouses are waiting to sell marital property (like a business or home)
A judge specifies the end date of short-term maintenance payments.
Long-term spousal maintenance
Long-term spousal maintenance is becoming rarer, but it’s still a legal solution in divorces where one spouse will never become self-supporting. It’s more popular in divorces where one spouse is disabled, elderly, or has been out of the job market for some time.
Long-term alimony is not forever. The spouse responsible for payments has the right to request legal review if circumstances change.
Beckman Steen & Lungstrom: Offering Spousal Maintenance Services to Minnesota Residents
If you have questions about obtaining spousal maintenance payments, we can help. Reach out to the team at Beckman Steen & Lungstrom today to speak to a legal professional who can assess your case.