Spousal maintenance (also referred to as alimony) is one of the most challenging and difficult issues associated with Minnesota divorce cases. The outcome is often unpredictable and frequently litigated in courts throughout Minnesota. The proposed payment and receipt of spousal maintenance is often times associated with strong emotional issues and can cause parties that are otherwise in full agreement to become adversarial and contentious.
Judicial discretion is a major component of spousal maintenance. The decision by a Judge to award spousal maintenance to either spouse is permissive, which means that a court may grant a spousal maintenance order. The first step is to convince a Judge that there are grounds to award spousal maintenance, which requires substantial financial analysis and may also require the use of an expert, such as a CPA and/or a CFP.
There are two grounds for an award of spousal maintenance:
- Spousal maintenance can be awarded if there are insufficient assets to support a party at the marital standard of living.
- Spousal maintenance can be awarded if a spouse is not self-supporting.
A third factor that can also apply is whether the spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian of a minor child whose circumstances make it appropriate that the spouse not work outside of the home.
Issues such as which property is considered an asset, what types of income can be considered, the marital standard of living and appropriate employment are analyzed by the Judge to determine whether spousal maintenance is awarded. Often times the court is forced to make a very difficult decision.
In 2011, the Minnesota Court of Appeals in the Passolt v. Passolt case made a substantial ruling that impacted how Courts will view spousal maintenance cases going forward.
Randall A. Smith is the founder and principal attorney of Lake Harriet Law Office and has practiced law since 1996. Mr. Smith earned his B.A. from Hamline University, his J.D. from Drake University and his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.
Located in the historic Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, Lake Harriet Law Office provides exceptional legal representation exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family Law.
We can represent you in Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Parenting Time, Property Division and Spousal Maintenance cases (including High-Conflict cases and Family Law Appeals).
Personalized service, attention to detail and effective communication are the cornerstones of our firm, and our promise to you, the client.
Lake Harriet Law Office represent Divorce and Family Law clients in Minneapolis, Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Scott County, Washington County and throughout the Twin Cities area.