How is Spousal Support (Maintenance) Calculated in Minnesota?

June 8, 2016

in Dakota County Divorce, Minnesota Spousal Support

How is Spousal Support Calculated in MinnesotaKey Factors Affecting Spousal Support

Although both former spouses often keep working full-time after a divorce today, there are times when a court will still make a significant support award to one party. This frequently happens after one spouse has shouldered the majority of the child-rearing duties for a lengthy time period and never had the chance to obtain a college degree or significant job training.

Fortunately, Minnesota statutes are open to providing long-term maintenance payments when circumstances clearly indicate a need for such an approach.

Whether youre the spouse needing support payments or the one who may be asked to pay them, youll want to review the following factors that courts often consider when deciding if an award should be made. Of course, should either partys circumstances change considerably on down the road, courts will often adjust an award.

How is Spousal Support Calculated in Minnesota?

  • The way the couples property was divided in the divorce. Keep in mind that both parties have a duty to wisely invest any sums of money awarded to them;
  • The separate income and assets of each party. Courts will carefully analyze the assets of the party ordered to pay temporary support to see what amount s/he can reasonably pay;
  • How long the parties were married and the existence of a binding pre-nuptial agreement.

Some states will also look to see how long a couple living together prior to marriage in determining an award. Naturally, very short marriages often dont end with any sizeable or lengthy support being awarded to either party;

  • The age and health status of each spouse;
  • The current earning capacity of each party;
  • The existence of any dependent children born to the couple. Also, courts will take into full consideration the needs of a child of any age who is severely disabled and unable to care for himself;
  • Questions will be asked to determine if one spouse left the workforce mainly to care for the childrens needs.

Many other factors may also be considered, including each partys marketable skills (even if they need to be updated). Courts may also inquire whether either party worked full-time to put the other one through college or graduate school and if either party has already received (or expects to soon receive) a sizeable inheritance.

Obtaining Professional Help: Youll Need to Learn About Your Spouses Entire Assets

One of the main reasons youll need the help of your Minnesota family law attorney while going through a divorce is to learn all you can about your spouses total assets. Far too often, one or both spouses may have kept certain assets secret during the course of the marriage, never revealing their existence.

Keep in mind that while your spouses legally separate assets cant be awarded to you they can still influence the courts decision as to how much spousal support the wealthier party can afford to pay the other one. Also, you do have a right to learn their full value.

Your attorney will help you obtain such useful information as:

  • Your ex-spouses current monthly income and expenses. Courts can often quickly glean where a party needing to make support payments can cut back on excessive spending by studying these figures. If all that is set forth does not equal the net income, the party will have to explain where the balance is going even if its going straight into a 401k or other investment accounts;
  • All of the data required to properly evaluate your former spouses retirement and investment accounts. Of course, if you were married for a fairly lengthy period of time, you were probably awarded a percentage of any retirement account or a lump sum payment for your share of any future payments;
  • Information pertaining to your ex-spouses health insurance. It can prove very useful to remain covered under this policy for a lengthy period of time;
  • All data available regarding your ex-spouses work bonuses. These may include the periodic award of company stock, overtime pay, and other less obvious job benefits.

As your lawyer will tell you, all of the key information concerning the award of temporary or permanent maintenance awards in Minnesota is set forth in Chapter 518 of the Minnesota statutes (Section 518. 552). Like many other states, Minnesota has substituted the term spousal maintenance for alimony in its statutes.

Free Initial Consultations

Contact the Flanders Law Firm today. I offer free consultations to all potential clients. Call (612) 424-0398.

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Joseph Flanders of Flanders Law Firm LLC is a family law and estate planning lawyer. For further information, check out his website or you can contact him by sending an email

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