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What can I expect in spousal maintenance in Minnesota divorce?

When it comes to Minnesota divorce, spousal maintenance is one of the more imprecise matters that can arise. This is for a number of reasons, including the fact that, unlike child support, there is no set formula for the calculation of spousal maintenance. Not to mention the fact that the approach given to spousal support varies from county to county, sometimes even from judge to judge. A strategy employed in Hennepin County may not necessarily work in Washington County or Dakota County. As such, a full understanding of Minnesota law and legal experience throughout the metro area are important factors to take into consideration when looking for legal guidance in this particular facet of the dissolution process.

There are some general standards a spouse is expected to meet under Minnesota statute in order to make a request for spousal maintenance. Very simply, there must be a demonstrated need and an ability to pay. This is only the beginning of the analysis, however.

There are two types of spousal maintenance awards: temporary spousal maintenance and permanent spousal maintenance. Temporary maintenance, sometimes known as “rehabilitative maintenance,” is for a set amount of time whereas permanent spousal maintenance is indefinite in nature. Don’t let the name fool you, however. Just because an award of spousal maintenance is deemed to be “permanent” does not always mean that it continues forever. Rather, a permanent award simply does not have a definite ending point.

In determining the amount and duration of spousal support, the Court takes into consideration a number of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The “marital standard of living”
  • Each party’s respective income or ability to earn
  • The anticipated living expenses for both individuals
  • The parties’ respective ages, including whether or not there is a significant difference in age between the parties
  • The overall division of property

Because the Court looks as so many variables when determining whether or not to award spousal maintenance, there are no certainties when it comes to spousal maintenance. While there may be no certainties, a family law attorney well-seasoned in spousal maintenance can help you to realize realistic goals and expectations when it comes to spousal maintenance, as well as assist in the crafting of a strategy that can help to achieve those goals.

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