Minnesota Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Maintenance in “MN”

The alimony laws governing spousal maintenance in Minnesota are different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the MN alimony law.

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “alimony” in Land of Sky-Blue Waters, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to maintain themselves after a divorce.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in MN

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Minnesota

In Minnesota, a judge will make a decision on which type of spousal maintenance to award. There are a number of considerations that go into determining which model is ideal for a certain situation.

The judge must decide the amount of spousal maintenance, the mode of payment, and the length of time the order will be in place for each spousal maintenance judgment. As a result, spousal maintenance is often referred to as “temporary” or “permanent.”

Temporary Spousal Maintenance in Minnesota

When one spouse requires financial support during the divorce process, temporary alimony is suitable. (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 518.62 (2018).) Whether or not the court issues a fresh post-divorce award, temporary assistance expires when the judge finalizes the divorce.

Short-term Maintenance in MN

In Minnesota, judges are more likely to provide short-term maintenance. In most situations, supported partners are competent in becoming self-supporting, but they’ll need time to develop work skills and obtain education in order to find work.

Short-term maintenance may include funds to assist a spouse who is completing school or who requires extra income after the divorce since the spouse must choose an entry-level job. In some circumstances, short-term maintenance is advantageous to spouses who are awaiting the sale of marital assets, such as a home or a business.

The judge sets the end date for short-term maintenance. If the supported spouse requires more assistance after maintenance has ended, the court can grant an extension.

Long-term Maintenance in Minnesota

Long-term maintenance is becoming less common in Minn, although it is still acceptable in divorces where the lower-earning spouse would never be able to support herself.

The court may award permanent maintenance if a spouse is physically incapacitated and unable to work, or if he or she is older and has been unemployed for a long time.

Long-term support isn’t always “forever,” and if situations change in the future, the paying spouse can request a review. (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 518.552 (3) (2018).)

Who Pays Alimony in Minnesota?

In the Minnesota alimony statute, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Land of Sky-Blue Waters is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Minnesota if the above conditions are met.

How Long Does Spousal Maintenance Last in MN?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long alimony payment should last in Minnesota

The duration to pay alimony in Minnesota can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal maintenance duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

As provided by the alimony laws of MN, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.

How to Collect Spousal Maintenance Arrears in Minnesota

When it comes to collecting spousal support in Minnesota, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Factors That Influence Alimony in Minnesota

The average amount payable as spousal support in Minnesota after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in MN, the courts in MN take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Land of Sky-Blue Waters. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in MN

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Minnesota

The amount to be paid as spousal maintenance in Minnesota is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in MN, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Minnesota Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Minnesota Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Minnesota and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. MN courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Minnesota, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of Minnesota divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Iowa Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Minnesota Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in MN:

Can a Husband get Alimony in MN?

Yes. In Minnesota, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Minnesota?

A court in Minnesota can mandate one spouse to pay alimony if the court determines that the spouse seeking alimony:

  • Simply lacks assets to meet reasonable needs/maintain a decent quality of living during the marriage, or
  • Is unable to sustain himself or herself through self-employment, or
  • is the primary caregiver of a child whose circumstances make it unsuitable for the parent to work after the separation. (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 518.552 (1) (2018).)

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in MN?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Minnesota, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Minnesota?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Minnesota and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Land of Sky-Blue Waters?

Alimony is mandatory in Minnesota as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Minnesota?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in MN?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Minnesota. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s a Minnesota court-ordered spousal maintenance that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in MN}.

How to Modify Spousal Maintenance in MN?

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Minnesota

You and your separated partner can pledge in a written agreement that none of you will seek a modification of the support order in the future. In the absence of an agreement, the judge may modify spousal maintenance if the applicant’s spouse shows that his or her conditions have changed significantly since the last ruling. (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 518A.39 (2) (a-b) (2018).)

The Cohabitation Alimony Reform Bill was passed in Minnesota in 2016, making it easier for a paying spouse to alter maintenance if the maintained spouse has moved in with a new partner (cohabitating). To request a review based on cohabitation, the supporting spouse must wait at least 12 months after the initial support order was issued.

The court can decrease, suspend, or cancel maintenance if the judge determines that the maintained spouse is cohabiting and that an alimony modification is necessary.

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification by the Minnesota court:

  • if the beneficiary would marry the cohabitant, but not for the express purpose of continuing to receive support
  • Cohabitation benefits the supporting spouse.
  • the length of time you’ve been together and
  • how long you’re likely to be together in the future, and
  • The economic impact on the beneficiary if the court modifies support.

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in Minnesota

In Land of Sky-Blue Waters, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.