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Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
As part of Mr. Blahnik's practice in Minnesota Divorces, he deals with spousal maintenance (also known as "alimony") on a regular basis. Spousal maintenance is a Court ordered monetary obligation that one spouse is required to pay to the other spouse after the divorce is finalized. Typically, but not always, it is the husband being ordered to pay spousal maintenance to the wife. Maintenance can be either "temporary" or "permanent."
There are several factors the come into play in determining whether a spouse is entitled to maintenance, but the main factors are:
- (1) Length of marriage;
- (2) Each party's incomes; and
- (3) Each party's expenses.
All of the spousal maintenance factors can be found in Minnesota Statute § 518.552, which provides as follows:
In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or in a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a Court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spose and which has since acquired jurisdiction, the Court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
- (a) Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for reasonable needs of the spouse considering the standard of living established during the marriage, especially, but not limited to, a period of training or education, or
- (b) Is unable to provide adequate self-support, after considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances, through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
Subd. 2. Amount; duration:
The maintenance order shall be in amounts and for periods of time, either temporary or permanent, as the Court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors including:
- (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.
Subd. 3. Permanency of Award:
Nothing in this section shall be construed to favor a temporary award of maintenance over a permanent award, where the factors under Subd. 2 justify a permanent award.
Where there is some uncertainty as to the necessity of a permanent award, the Court shall order a permanent award leaving its order open for later modification.
Please contact Blahnik Law Office, PLLC if you have any legal needs or if you simply have a legal question that you want answered.
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