In Minnesota, spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, is not automatically awarded when couples get divorced. Unlike child support, spousal support is not determined by preset factors or rigid payment guidelines. Instead, the determination of spousal support is subject to many factors including but not limited to earning capacity of the parties, the length of the marriage, the standard of living during that marriage, as well as the age and health of the parties.
In Minnesota, spousal support may be awarded temporarily, permanently, or not at all. Courts are often more likely to award temporary spousal maintenance when the other party’s current need for financial assistance is due to unemployment, a need for further education to become employable, or other factors exist which are likely to be temporary.
Part of the reason there are so many factors in determining if spousal support is warranted, and deciding the amount of spousal support, is there are often circumstances that make financial equality difficult unless the party with more income continues to support the other spouse financially even after their marriage has ended. Also, Because there is no calculator or guideline, spousal maintenance awards tend to vary greatly across courts within the state as well as within each county.
According to Minnesota law a court can award spousal maintenance if the spouse seeking it doesn’t have enough assets to provide for reasonable needs, especially if the spouse is undergoing education or professional training. Spousal support may also be justified if the spouse can’t support himself or herself by working, or where childcare makes it difficult for him or her to also work outside the home.
For example, one party may have provided the daily care for the children and/or home while the other worked outside the home and earned the majority of the family’s income. Or one party may have rights over assets that were shared during the marriage, but which the other party does not wish to divide or continue sharing. Such circumstances call for careful consideration and experienced representation to make sure you’re getting or giving what is fair and within the bounds of the law.
In cases where one party works and the other doesn’t or has significantly less income, it can be extremely difficult once divorce proceedings begin if the other party is not willing to continue supporting their spouse during the proceedings. In such cases, the disadvantaged party may need to file for a temporary court order asking for payment of support during proceedings until the divorce is finalized and obligations are clearly defined.
Zachary Marsh knows how to properly assess all factors included in the determination of spousal support, such as analyzing income, reviewing budgets and monthly spending/expenses, and assessing all factors the Court will use in determining an appropriate amount and duration of spousal support. Marsh PLLC often engages a team of financial professionals in preparing historical spending reports, cash flow analyses, and business valuations, as needed, to ensure that an optimal spousal maintenance result is being reached.