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How is spousal maintenance addressed in Minnesota family law?

| Jul 24, 2020 | Family Law |

Any Minnesota divorce is likely to have issues in dispute. While child custody and support come to the forefront, spousal maintenance is also a challenging aspect of a case. If, for example, one spouse put his or her career and education on the backburner to provide support for a business endeavor and that endeavor became a success, it is reasonable to expect maintenance to be paid from the spouse who benefited to the one who helped. There is a litany of factors that will be considered as part of a family law case in which maintenance is being considered. Legal advice can be beneficial for both sides.

Understanding when maintenance can be awarded and its duration

There may be an award of maintenance if a spouse who is requesting it does not have sufficient property to retain the standard of living from the marriage. This can include the lack of education, training and other factors. The maintenance should be provided until the receiving spouse is capable of self-supporting and reaching the previous lifestyle. If there is a child who needs to be cared for because of a condition or situation that makes it impossible for the custodial spouse to achieve self-support, then there can also be an order of maintenance to achieve the standard of living from the marriage.

Another source for acrimony is the duration for which the maintenance must be paid. The receiving spouse may want it for a specific amount of time while the paying spouse wants to pay for less time. This is true whether the award is temporary or permanent. The following are considered as part of the process:

  • Financial resources
  • How long it will take for the receiving spouse to garner adequate education and training
  • The standard of living from the marriage
  • How long the couple was married
  • Age and condition of the receiving spouse
  • If the paying spouse can meet his or her needs when paying
  • How much each side contributed to the property from the marriage and the other party’s achievements

In short, the goal is to analyze the marriage and its finances while seeking a fair resolution for each side. Regardless of whether the couple is considered affluent or is of lesser means, the award of maintenance is not designed to be a punitive act against the paying spouse or a reward for the receiving spouse, but an attempt to achieve a satisfactory outcome so the parties can maintain their lifestyle from the marriage.

Being protected with experienced legal advice

Family law is complex and determining maintenance, how much it will be, how long it will last and other aspects is essential to a case. Some cases are amicable and others are difficult. The sides will each have a viewpoint as to an amount and the length of time for which it will be provided. Perhaps a negotiation is possible to avoid a drawn-out court battle. Or the spouses have become so entrenched in their position that a judge must decide. No matter the issues and the financial parameters, it is wise to have legal advice from the beginning. A firm with experience in spousal maintenance and other areas of family law may be able to help.