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Help For All Your Spousal Maintenance Questions

Last updated on June 5, 2024

During a divorce, one spouse may request spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support. Spousal maintenance is a way of leveling the financial playing field after a divorce is finalized.

We have represented many clients in obtaining spousal maintenance in mediation, district court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals. We have also been successful in defending against claims for spousal maintenance where it was not warranted. Our attorneys have successfully obtained orders terminating spousal maintenance under a law that permits termination where cohabitation is proven.

Spousal maintenance is intended to help a party achieve financial independence. The duration may be temporary (a certain number of years or until a certain event occurs) or permanent. Spousal maintenance is awarded based on the duration of the marriage; each person’s earning capacity; each person’s ability to provide financial support for themselves; each person’s financial need for support based on the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; and other factors.

Contact us to learn more and set up a consultation today.

Spousal maintenance may be ordered if one spouse does not have the financial resources to meet their reasonable monthly expenses after a divorce. The law requires the court to consider the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage and allocate available resources while recognizing that the standard of living of both may decrease somewhat since it is more expensive to live separately than together. Spousal maintenance needs to be requested during the divorce process or it will be waived

An attorney from Evenson Decker, P.A., can help you create the best case to support your spousal maintenance claim or defend against a claim.


The court can award spousal maintenance in an appropriate amount for a temporary or permanent period. Many factors are considered for each party, including:

  • Financial resources;
  • Responsibilities for children or property;
  • Age of the party seeking maintenance;
  • Marketable skills;
  • Necessary training or education;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Loss of earnings during the marriage;
  • Retirement benefits available to the party;
  • Other property; etc.

Termination / Modification

Termination of spousal maintenance can occur by operation of law such as when a party dies, a recipient remarries or by a date defined in the order. It can also occur when certain less-definite circumstances exist such as a recipient becomes financially self-supporting or cohabitates with someone they would otherwise marry but for the desire to continue to receive spousal maintenance.

Modification or termination of a maintenance award can be requested by the paying party if the recipient lives with a person with whom they are in a romantic relationship. A modification or extension of maintenance can be requested by the recipient if payments are scheduled to end per the order and the recipient does not feel they will have the ability to meet their financial needs without continuation of the maintenance award. Modifications may be requested by either party for a variety of reasons such as changes in income or expenses for themselves or the other party.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Maintenance In Minnesota

Many people have misunderstandings about what spousal maintenance is and how it works. Here is some information that may help you understand more:

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is sometimes called “spousal support” or “alimony” in other states. It is money paid by one former spouse to the other because the dependent spouse is unable to financially support themselves. It can be awarded to both husbands and wives.

How is spousal maintenance determined?

Minnesota Statute Section 518.552 lists eight factors that must be considered when determining spousal maintenance:

  • The financial resources of both parties, including marital assets and child support
  • The ability of the dependent spouse to become self-supporting given enough time to acquire the necessary education or skills and the time it will take
  • The standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage and the time in which the dependent spouse dedicated themselves to being a homemaker
  • The opportunities, employment and benefits the dependent spouse gave up to be a homemaker
  • The age and health of the dependent spouse and how that would affect their ability to work
  • The ability of the payor spouse to meet their own needs while paying support
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage and the value of the marital property

It’s important to note that marital misconduct is not a factor in this determination.

Is spousal maintenance awarded in all divorce cases?

No. It is only available when the dependent spouse lacks sufficient income and property to support themselves and meet their reasonable needs or maintain their standard of living.

How long does spousal maintenance last?

Spousal maintenance can be temporary or permanent, and the length of time can vary widely depending upon the factors listed above that go into determining the award. In addition, a dependent spouse awarded temporary maintenance could petition the court to extend the support, while a payor spouse can petition to end or reduce permanent alimony as circumstances change.

At Evenson Decker, P.A., a lawyer can help you better understand how these rules apply to your situation.

Contact An Attorney For Spousal Maintenance Assistance Today

At Evenson Decker, P.A., we establish close working relationships with clients resulting in strong and effective representation. If you find yourself in need of a spousal maintenance attorney, please contact us today or give us a call at 320-301-1025 to schedule an appointment.