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How is Spousal Maintenance/Alimony Calculated in Minnesota?

Minnesota does not have a spousal maintenance/alimony calculator.  Maintenance and alimony are synonymous, but the current statues refer to an obligation from one ex-spouse to another as spousal maintenance.  Historically, it was more commonly referred to as alimony.  The decision on whether a party is entitled to temporary/rehabilitative or permanent spousal maintenance is a relatively subjective decision ultimately made by the court if the parties can’t agree to terms.  Permanent spousal maintenance is an ongoing obligation while temporary or rehabilitative maintenance is more often seen in shorter term marriages and is aimed at providing financial support while the recipient of maintenance takes steps needed to get back into the work force and become self-supporting.  That may include time to educate or reeducate oneself or receive other necessary training in order to obtain an income that enables self-support.

The ultimate determination of maintenance is based on a number of factors outlined in Minnesota Statute Section 518.552, which include:

  1. Financial resources of a party seeking maintenance;
  2. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable a 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;
  3. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  4. 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;
  5. The loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities forgone by the spouse seeking spousal maintenance;
  6. The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  7. The ability of the spouse from maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
  8. The contribution of each party and 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.

Every situation is unique and judges are human beings.  It is very difficult for lawyers to determine with certainty what a judge may award for spousal maintenance/alimony unless they have had a case with very similar facts in front of that judge before.  But even then, there is still a degree of speculation.  It is quite possible that if the same case regarding spousal maintenance could be tried in front of multiple different judges, you might get different result from each and every judge.  While no one factor is determinative of the outcome of a case, as with any determination based on multiple factors, a judge may find certain fact(s) in a case more compelling than another.  And, credibility determinations regarding the witnesses may also be different depending on the judge.

Having a lawyer who has significant experience litigating spousal maintenance issues in the county where your case is likely to be venued is helpful.  Given the various factors considered by the Court and the unique situation each and every case presents, you should consult with an attorney regarding your given situation.

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