Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Trends and the Curtis decision

The June 22, 2015 decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals 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-decree expenses).  In Minnesota, Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) is based upon need, and contrary to what some attorneys state, the equalization of cash flow (or available income) is not required or even addressed by Minnesota Statue 518.552. Judges in Minnesota have discretion in awarding spousal maintenance, and the decision whether to award spousal maintenance is permissive.  

Spousal Maintenance – Lack of Precise Formula

In Minnesota, Spousal Maintenance (Alimony), unlike Child Support, does not provide the parties with a basic 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 existing statutes and precedent to determine whether an award of Spousal Maintenance is appropriate under the given facts of the case.  Since the Minnesota legislature has not addressed the issues for many years, Judges are put in a position of making spousal maintenance decisions that reflect current views and trends.  A vocational assessment of the spouse requesting spousal maintenance has become much more prominent as a result of the 2011 decision in Passolt v. Passolt.

The Use of Financial Experts During Divorce

The use of a CPA, Actuary, ASA, Financial Planner or Real Estate Appraiser 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) and Business, Partnership, S-Corporation and Real Estate valuations.

Experienced Local 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, South Minneapolis, Southwest Minneapolis, Linden Hills, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul, Minnetonka, 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: August 14, 2015Categories: Family Law Updates

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