Whether you will have to pay alimony in Minnesota can be a difficult question. Alimony is often the most contentious part of a divorce. It also can be the most difficult to predict what a Court will do. Courts have wide discretion to determine whether you will pay, how much, and for how long.
Alimony is legally known as spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is decided by a two-step process. First, a Court will look at whether one spouse will have a need and whether the other spouse has the ability to pay.
Court’s typically look at post-divorce income of both parties. Then, the Court compares this to the standard of living established during the marriage.
If the Court answers “yes” to “need” and “ability to pay”, the next step is to look at how much spousal maintenance is and how long it should last.
For this, a Court is required to consult the following factors, by Minnesota statute 518.552:
“The maintenance order shall be in amounts and for periods of time, either temporary or permanent, as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors including:
(a) 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;
(b) 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;
(c) the standard of living established during the marriage;
(d) 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;
(e) the loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities forgone by the spouse seeking spousal maintenance;
(f) the age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
(g) the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
(h) 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.”
Each one of these points is arguable, and sometimes they are. They can be very fact-intensive. A divorce attorney helps you to identify which of these are in play, what evidence to use, and how to argue each one. Whether you pay Alimony in Minnesota can depend on it.