Spousal Maintenance is one of the most heavily litigated issue in divorce cases. Part of the reason for that is the fact that it involves discretion. In Minnesota there is a statute that governs the issuance of spousal maintenance. It provides that maintenance can be imposed where one party has insufficient earnings and resources to maintain the marital standard of living without financial support from the other AND that other spouse has the ability to provide for the support of their spouse. That involves two elements; the first is a need by one spouse and the other is an ability by the other. If both elements are met then two additional questions arise; for how long does that spouse need support and in what amount? The first issue the court will address is whether maintenance is needed on a temporary or permanent basis. Temporary maintenance is only appropriate where the supported spouse can become self-supporting after a reasonable period of retraining or job searching. Permanent maintenance is appropriate where no period of retraining would result in the spouse being capable of self-support in the marital standard. If support is appropriate the amount needs to be determined. This can vary depending on whether the period of training will require tuition costs or child care costs and added support while a spouse furthers his or her education.
This issue can be complex. There are many legal and factual issues that must be addressed. If you believe spousal maintenance might be appropriate in your case you should contact me for legal advice.