Under what circumstances will a court award alimony or spousal maintenance?

Burnsville, MN family law attorney John Burns talks about the various circumstances courts will award alimony or spousal maintenance.

Contact John Burns

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Phone: (952) 898-6834


Spousal maintenance, which was previously referred to as alimony, is perhaps the single most contested issue in divorce cases at this time, and the analysis is fairly simple. You need to look at what was the standard of living during the marriage, and once you have an idea of that, then you look at the person requesting the spousal maintenance to identify what their reasonable need is going to be. The preparation of a good budget with the assistance of my legal assistant is an important step. Once we understand what that need is, we look at what is the person’s ability to meet their own needs and we do that analysis. The shortfall amount is then compared against what the obligor or the other person may have after looking at their reasonable budget and their ability to meet that so that the analysis involves a careful consideration of both the person requesting maintenance and the ability to pay of the other party, and then once we’ve analyzed all of that, we’re able to give a pretty good prediction of whether it’s a spousal maintenance case and how much spousal maintenance might be appropriate in a given case. We also analyze whether it might be a case for a waiver, a Karen waiver under Minnesota law, where not only do we want to say that we’re not awarding maintenance or we’re limiting maintenance, but we want to put some limit upon it so that the court cannot go back and change it at any point in the future.