Spousal Maintenance

Otsego and Elk River Divorce Attorney

After the marriage, and sometimes during the divorce, one spouse may be unable to support himself or herself. If the other spouse has sufficient income to cover his or her own needs and contribute to support of the other spouse, he or she may be required to pay "spousal maintenance," formerly known as "alimony." Either the husband or the wife may be entitled to spousal maintenance.

Temporary vs. Permanent Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance may be "temporary," meaning payable for a set amount of time, typically long enough for the recipient to support himself or herself without contribution from the other spouse. Otherwise, spousal maintenance is "permanent," meaning it lasts for an indefinite amount of time. Rarely is "permanent" spousal maintenance truly permanent. It still ceases when the recipient remarries, dies, or the court terminates or modifies the payment due to some other change in circumstances.

How is the Amount of Spousal Maintenance Determined?

Determining whether, how much, and for how long spousal maintenance should be paid can be difficult. Unlike child support, there is no statutory formula in Minnesota. The Court must decide whether one spouse needs support and whether the other spouse has sufficient income or assets to provide it. This is typically done by comparing each spouse's income and assets to their expenses.

If one spouse cannot pay his or her reasonable expenses, and the other spouse is able to meet his or her own expenses and still contribute to the other spouse, then the court will consider the duration of marriage, the parties' standard of living, their ages, their health, and a number of other factors to determine what is fair. Reasonable minds may differ about that, and two different judges may arrive at very different decisions on the same set of facts. For these reasons, people frequently find a way to settle disputes over spousal maintenance.

At Two Rivers Law, we have experience on both sides of this dispute, in settlement, trial, and at the appellate level. If spousal maintenance is an issue in your case, call us today for a free consultation. We'll help you fight to retain your financial independence.