Minnesota Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Trends During Divorce

The recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision in Curtis v. Curtis affirmed the decision of the trial court (which required a spouse to liquidate an award of property and assets to meet post-divorce expenses and monthly budget). The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear the case and will issue their decision during 2016.  In Minnesota, Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) is based upon need (and not the equalization of cash flow or income). Minnesota Statue 518.552 addresses the factors to consider when determining whether an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate given the facts of the case.  Judges in Minnesota have discretion in awarding spousal maintenance, and the decision whether to award spousal maintenance is permissive.  The trend in Minnesota has been a gradual shift from permanent maintenance to temporary (rehabilitative) maintenance.  

Spousal Maintenance – Lack Of A Precise Formula or Algorithm

In Minnesota, Spousal Maintenance (unlike Child Support) does not provide the parties with a formula to determine if (and for what duration of time) money should be paid to one spouse during Divorce proceedings, or after a Divorce.  Courts must use Minnesota Statute 518.552 to analyze and determine whether to award spousal maintenance to a spouse, and the factors addressed in this statute are often subject to various (and dissimilar) interpretations and outcomes.  The whole process can be vexing and confusing the parties during a divorce.

The Use of Financial Experts To Address Spousal Maintenance

The use of a CPA (in some case a neutral CPA pursuant to a Rule 706 Order) can provide valuable assistance in crafting a spousal maintenance award (or in determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate given the individual facts of the case).  An experienced CPA can provide the parties with various financial scenarios based on income, tax rates, child support, asset division and rate of return on investments to present a picture of the post-decree financial positions of each party.  In some Divorce cases, other financial neutrals may be required in order to provide valuations of various assets, such as a 401k, 403b, 457, Related Qualified Plan, ESOP, IRA or Pension (including Pensions for Teachers, Nurses, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Carpenters, Professors, Electricians, Plumbers, Police Officers and Firefighter).  

Experienced Local Minneapolis Divorce Law Firm

Located in the historic Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, Lake Harriet Law Office Attorneys Randall A. Smith and Amber C. Bretl provide outstanding legal representation exclusively in the areas of Divorce and Family Law.   

Lake Harriet Law Office represents clients in Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, Linden Hills, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Anoka County, St. Louis Park and Scott County. 

Please call 612-750-4843 or complete the Contact Us form to schedule an office consultation.

Randall A. Smith – Principal Attorney  612-750-4843

Amber C. Bretl – Associate Attorney      612-23-8925

Published On: December 10, 2015Categories: Family Law Updates

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