If your spouse has a higher income than you do, you may fear for your financial future if you two are divorcing. Their earnings might have been essential for maintaining your lifestyle, or necessary in making ends meet. To protect yourself against hardship, you may want to seek spousal maintenance as part of your divorce settlement. In doing so, you must understand the factors that could affect the amount you receive – and the duration you receive it for – in Minnesota.
How spousal maintenance works in Minnesota
In Minnesota, you can receive spousal maintenance in two different situations. The first situation is if you have insufficient property to support yourself with – as determined by your marital standard of living – after your divorce. The second situation is if you cannot support yourself through employment. This may be due to factors like your age, abilities or health. It could also be due to caring for a child whose needs make it inappropriate for you to work outside your home.
Depending on your needs, you will either receive temporary or permanent spousal maintenance. Temporary spousal maintenance is rehabilitative. If you receive it, it will last until a specified date, likely until when you can support yourself. Permanent spousal maintenance can be long-term or, in some cases, indefinite. Keep in mind, though, that permanent spousal maintenance awards are modifiable and can change if your circumstances do.
In determining which type of maintenance is appropriate for your situation, as well as its value and duration, the court will consider:
- How long it will take you to acquire education or training that allows you to become self-sufficient
- How long your marriage lasted, and if you took time away from your career or education at any point during your marriage
- The financial resources – both marital and individual – available to you
- The standard of living you had during your marriage
- Whether you lost out on earnings, attainment or retirement benefits by foregoing career opportunities during your marriage
- Whether your spouse will be able to meet their needs while providing you with maintenance
- Your age, physical health and emotional health
Spousal maintenance can prevent you from facing financial hardship during and after your divorce. With the help of an attorney, you can make sure the support you receive allows you to meet your needs and maintain your standard of living.