Unlike other some other states, in Minnesota, there is not a magic formula to determine if you will receive or will have to pay spousal maintenance/alimony as part of a divorce, how much that spousal maintenance will be and for how long the obligation will be in place.
In Minnesota the determination can be relatively subjective based upon a number of factors set forth in the statute. As a part of your divorce case, a Judge will determine if the party claiming they need financial assistance lacks the resources (income, income producing assets, and/or child support) to provide for their own support. Next the Judge will determine if the party who would pay spousal maintenance has resources available to provide for their own support and potentially pay child support, while contributing to the support of the other spouse.
Minnesota Statute provides the guidelines to the Judge for making a complete analysis regarding spousal maintenance and for determining the amount of the spousal maintenance and the duration of the obligation. Following are the factors that must be considered by the parties, their attorneys and ultimately the Judge:
“(a) the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to the party, and the party’s ability to meet needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
(b) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, and the probability, given the party’s age and skills, of completing education or training and becoming fully or partially self-supporting;
(c) the standard of living established during the marriage;
(d) the duration of the marriage and, in the case of a homemaker, the length of absence from employment and the extent to which any education, skills, or experience have become outmoded and earning capacity has become permanently diminished;
(e) the loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities forgone by the spouse seeking spousal maintenance;
(f) the age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
(g) the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
(h) the contribution of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or in furtherance of the other party’s employment or business.”em> Minn. Stat. § 518.522, Subd. 2.
In some cases, a spousal maintenance obligation may be permanent (or indefinite); in other cases, a spousal maintenance obligation may be temporary in order to provide the person receiving the spousal maintenance the time necessary to regain the ability to provide for their own support.
Spousal maintenance is a very complex and nuanced issue. If spousal maintenance is an issue in your case, it is important to work with an experienced attorney that can guide you through these issues and advocate for you vigorously.