Minnesota Divorce FAQ’s – Alimony

This is about alimony after divorce in Minnesota, including when courts order alimony, how the amount of alimony is set in Minnesota, and how and when Minnesota courts stop alimony once it’s awarded.

This information is from Maury D. Beaulier, the DivorceInfo Network Lawyer for Minnesota. Click here to visit his web site.

When does alimony get paid?

“Alimony” is the term used in many states for financial support paid to a ex-spouse after a divorce. In Minnesota the term “alimony” has been replaced with the term “Spousal Maintenance.” The terms are synonymous.

Currently, spousal maintenance awards are granted pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 518.552 if the spouse seeking maintenance demonstrates that he or she:

  • lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned as part of the divorce to provide for the 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
  • is unable to provide adequate self-support, after considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstance, through appropriate employment, or
  • is the custodian of a child whose condition and circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.

How does the court decide how much?

In determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, Minnesota statutes require that Courts address all relevant factors. The statute specifically identifies the following as relevant issues in determining spousal maintenance:

  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • The amount of time that is necessary for the spouse seeking maintenance to acquire necessary skills or education to find appropriate employment;
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the recipient spouse;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The contribution and economic sacrifices of a homemaker including loss of seniority, retirement benefits and other employment opportunities foregone while working at home
  • The financial resources available to the spouse from whom maintenance is sought.

No single factor is dispositive and the Courts must weigh all factors giving appropriate weight to each.

What does it take to change alimony?

In order to change spousal Maintenance, there must be a substantial change in circumstance.  In other words income or expenses for either party must increase or decrease.

When does alimony stop?

Often, when spousal maintenance stops depends on the agreement of the parties.  However, in most cases if left up to the Court spousal maintenance ends when (1) either party dies; (2) when the person receiving spousal maintenance remarries; (3) order of the Court.

Other issues in Minnesota: