What is Spousal Maintenance often called Alimony?

Spousal Maintenance is a legal term that is used when one of the spouses needs financial assistance to “maintain the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to”.  This can range from a few hundred dollars a month for a year or so to permanent alimony of thousands and thousands of dollars per month for life.

Minnesota Statute 518.552 controls alimony (Officially called spousal maintenance) in Minnesota.   This statute sets the way a judge must determine if alimony will be paid, looking at standards of living, duration of marriage, age of the parties, etc.  Most of the time alimony is decided on a gut level, when negotiating the alimony amount the lawyer must take a look at his or her experience, ability of the client to testify, and the Judge.  The district court Judge is the key because most alimony cases are upheld on appeal.

Is there an alimony calculator in Minnesota?

No.  Some states have a calculator that you enter all the information and you get two numbers.  One number is the amount of monthly alimony that the Judge should consider as a base number.  The second number is how many months the payments should be made.  Minnesota, does not have a calculator like this.

Is there a difference between alimony, spousal support and spousal maintenance?

No, these are all words that mean the same thing in Minnesota.  While you will hear all of these during your divorce, the technical term is “spousal maintenance” in Minnesota.

What is considered a “long-term” marriage in Minnesota?

This is a great question and one that there no clear-cut answer.  Many court of appeals case find that marriages in excess of 7 years are in fact “long-term”.

What is temporary spousal maintenance?

There are two kinds of spousal maintenance, permanent and temporary.  Temporary spousal maintenance is often called “rehabilitative maintenance” which is ordered so that the recipient can go back to college, or change career paths.

How permanent is permanent spousal maintenance?

Generally, alimony can be modified if the recipient gets married or there is a significant change of financial circumstances.  What we see a lot is retirement, job change, or serious illness that affects income will be a basis to modify spousal maintenance in Minnesota.  The bottom line is there needs to be a real reason why alimony needs to be changed.

What is a Karon Waiver?

A Karon Waiver is a legal device that “locks” people in to alimony payments.  This means, come hell or high water, that payment must be made.  Many states don’t allow this, but Minnesota does.

If you have more questions about spousal maintenance, alimony call one our attorneys for an consultation at 507-205-9736.  As they say, knowledge is power, and you need to be powerful.