MN Spousal Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Divorce can be a process that is difficult for many. Not only are emotions often running high as a marriage comes to an end, but ironing out the details regarding finances can add a layer of stress that neither party anticipated.

Spousal maintenance is often an issue that becomes contentious in a divorce. Some parties in the divorce may worry about how they can make it once they no longer have additional income, while others worry that the strain of paying spousal support can tank them financially.

This is why Minnesota divorce attorneys often get a lot of questions about spousal maintenance and how it works. Read on to find out what you need to know.

Need-Based Spousal Maintenance in Minnesota

In our state, spousal maintenance is granted for only a couple of reasons: either the party who wants it does not have enough property to provide for their standard of living or needs they established during the marriage, or the party requesting it must care for a child whose care makes it impossible for them to work outside the home.

In some states, it’s not unheard of for wrongdoing by one party in the marriage to award alimony to the other, but in Minnesota that does not happen. Even if one party cheated or they wasted assets in the marriage, it won’t change whether spousal maintenance can be ordered.

Minnesota Does Not Use a Formula

Some things parties may be ordered to pay as a part of a divorce settlement, such as child support, are calculated based on the income of the parents and other factors. However, spousal maintenance in Minnesota does not use a formula for its calculation. Instead, how long spousal maintenance must be paid and how much is based on:

  • The financial resources of the party seeking it
  • How long it will take the party seeking it to become self-sufficient
  • What standard of living was established during the marriage
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • If the party seeking it has been out of the workforce and how that impacts their ability to earn
  • Any employment opportunities, earnings, retirement benefits, and seniority the party seeking maintenance has foregone in the marriage
  • The emotional and physical condition of the party, as well as their age
  • The ability of one party to pay the spousal maintenance and meet their own needs while paying
  • What each party contributed to the property amassed during the marriage, including contributions as a homemaker to support the other party’s job or business

In Minnesota, a general rule of thumb for spousal maintenance is that the longer the marriage lasted and the greater difference between the income of the two parties, the more likely the court will award the requested maintenance.

When Can MN Spousal Maintenance Be Terminated?

When Can MN Spousal Maintenance Be Terminated?

In Minnesota, spousal maintenance can be terminated if the party receiving it remarries. Also, though it will depend on the circumstances, spousal maintenance can be terminated if they cohabitate with a new romantic partner instead of getting married to them.

Spousal maintenance can be a topic that is difficult for both parties in the divorce, which is why you need an experienced and understanding lawyer to help guide you through the process and ensure your needs are represented properly to the court.


About the Author:

A former Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District in Duluth and former staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program, Brent R. Olson is an experienced trial lawyer who has appeared in every Courthouse in the Sixth Judicial District and taken over three dozen cases to verdict. At LaCourse, Poole & Envall, Mr. Envall focuses on family law, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense. He has a strong belief in restorative justice and helped to develop the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles program.