Spousal Maintenance Trends in Minnesota Divorce and the Spolum vs. D’Amato decision.

The August 17, 2015 decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Spolum vs. D’Amato reversed the district court’s award of permanent spousal maintenance, and remanded for a determination of the appropriate level of maintenance in conformity with the opinion by the Court.  In Minnesota, Spousal Maintenance (also referred to as Alimony) is based upon need, and contrary to what many 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 broad discretion in awarding spousal maintenance, and the decision whether to award spousal maintenance is permissive.  

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) – The Lack of a Precise Formula

Spousal Maintenance, unlike Child Support, does not provide the parties with a formula, algorithm or calculator – to determine if (and for what duration of time) money should be paid to one spouse during Divorce proceedings, or after a Divorce.  Under current Minnesota law, Courts must use existing statutes and precedent to determine whether an award of Spousal Maintenance is appropriate.  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.  The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear the Curtis vs. Curtis case, which was decided by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on June 22, 2015, and which may set future precedent for some Spousal Maintenance cases in Minnesota.  

The Use of Financial Experts During Divorce

The use of a CPA, Actuary, ASA or Real Estate Appraiser may be required to provide valuations of various Assets, such as a 401k, 403b, 457, related Qualified Plan, ESOP, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or Pension (including Pensions for Teachers, Nurses, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Professors, Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, Police Officers and Firefighters) as well as Business, Partnership, Family Business and Real Estate valuations.

We Represent Clients Exclusively in Divorce and Family Law

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, Southwest Minneapolis, Kenwood, Linden Hills, Plymouth, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul, Minnetonka and Scott County. 

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

Randall A. Smith – Principal Attorney

Amber C. Bretl – Associate Attorney


Published On: October 8, 2015Categories: Family Law Updates

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We represent clients throughout the Minneapolis area in Divorce, Financial Issues, Child Custody, Child Support, Parenting Time, Property and Asset Division, Spousal Maintenance and more!