Determining Spousal Maintenance Awards
The family law attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC can advise you in determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in your case. In Minnesota, the court may order one spouse to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) to the other spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking spousal maintenance:
- lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for 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 circumstances, through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
In setting the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, the court is to consider:
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to the party, and the party’s ability to meet needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the 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;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- 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;
- The loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities foregone by the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The age, physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
- The contribution of each party in 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.
The court has considerable discretion in determining the amount and length of a spousal maintenance order. Spousal maintenance can be “permanent” or “temporary/rehabilitative” depending upon the court’s assessment of the facts of the case. Where there is some uncertainty as to the necessity of a permanent award, the court is to order a permanent award leaving its order open for later modification.
Modifying Spousal Maintenance Orders
If the Court has jurisdiction to modify a spousal maintenance award, both rehabilitative/temporary and permanent spousal maintenance awards are subject to modification if there is a change of circumstances, which renders the spousal maintenance order unreasonable and unfair. Cohabitation may be a factor in modifying or terminating a spousal maintenance award. Whether such a change of circumstances has occurred is decided on a case-by-case basis and depends upon the circumstances of both parties.
For more information contact Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC online or at 651-771-0050 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.