When is alimony (known as "spousal maintenance" in Minnesota) available?


The subject of spousal maintenance is probably the most controversial issue I deal with, either as a lawyer or as a neutral mediator or early neutral evaluator. Just the emotion related to the concept of spousal maintenance makes it a difficult case in and of itself. But above and beyond that, we have to consider both parties’ available resources, their budgets, what’s reasonable and necessary to support themselves in terms of the standard of living during the marriage, and what’s the other party’s ability to make up for that difference. So, most simplistically, I think of does the party have a need, do they have an ability to meet that need through their own resources, and if they do not, does the other party then have the ability to fill in that gap and supplement the income along the way.