Minnesota Spousal Maintenance Laws

By Bernadette A. Safrath

When spouses divorce, one spouse may be eligible for "spousal maintenance." This is money you receive from your ex-spouse upon divorce if you are unable to support yourself with your income and assets alone. The Minnesota Statutes set forth the procedure courts use to determine who may receive maintenance and the amount of the maintenance award.


Minnesota law requires that a spouse seeking maintenance establish eligibility. You must show the need for maintenance based on one of the requirements set forth in Minnesota Statute 518.552. If you have custody of young children and are unable to work, for example, the court may award maintenance. You may also receive maintenance if there are not sufficient assets to "provide for the reasonable needs" you have. Finally, if you do not earn an income sufficient enough to be self-supporting, the court is permitted to award maintenance.

Temporary Vs. Permanent Maintenance

Spousal maintenance in Minnesota can be temporary or permanent. Temporary maintenance is designed to be rehabilitative, to allow the receiving spouse time to obtain employment with a sufficient income. Generally, if you are 45 or younger, the court will award alimony for about five years and expect you to complete education or training, if necessary, to obtain better employment. If your marriage lasted for less than five years, you are not entitled to maintenance. If your marriage lasted for more than 25 years, a court will generally award permanent maintenance.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Amount and Duration

The court examines several factors when setting the amount and duration of spousal maintenance. Minnesota requires a court to consider each spouse's age, length of the marriage, spouses' standard of living, each spouse's percentage of the marital property award, each spouse's income, time the receiving spouse may need to complete an education or training program, and the owing spouse's ability to pay.


Either spouse can petition for an increase, decrease, temporary suspension or extension of spousal maintenance. The court will modify the award if the petitioning spouse can prove that a "substantial change of circumstances" occurred. Such a change can include a significant change in income, loss of employment or diagnosis of a serious illness leading to an inability to work.


Even when a maintenance award is permanent, payments can terminate early in certain situations. Under Minnesota law, both temporary and permanent maintenance terminates immediately upon the death of either spouse. Additionally, if a receiving spouse remarries, her right to maintenance ends.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Alimony Laws in Tennessee


Related articles

How Long Do You Pay Alimony in Missouri?

Like many states, Missouri courts prefer to call alimony “spousal maintenance.” By any name, there are few definitive rules regarding when a judge orders it and how long the payments last. Missouri courts have a great deal of discretion when it comes to spousal maintenance or support. It usually comes down to the opinion of a single judge, based on the particular circumstances of your case.

How to Get Your Alimony Reduced in SC

If your judge ordered you to pay alimony in your South Carolina divorce, his order is likely based on the circumstances of both you and your spouse at the time of your divorce. Depending on the type of alimony your judge awards, the court may change the alimony payments if your circumstances change significantly; however, your judge has discretion in whether or not to change the award.

The Penalties for Not Paying Alimony in Illinois

In Illinois, alimony is known as spousal maintenance and is an important tool for ensuring that former spouses can maintain their lifestyle after a divorce. In Illinois, failure to pay spousal maintenance can invoke significant penalties. Prior to pursuing a remedy through courts, it may be a good idea for an ex-spouse not receiving payment to speak to her former spouse first. Attempting to resolve the issue outside of court may save both time and expense, and result in the ex-spouse receiving her maintenance payments faster.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Alimony Laws in Kentucky

Alimony, called "maintenance" in Kentucky, may be awarded to one spouse during a dissolution of marriage proceeding. ...

Divorce in Missouri If Your Spouse Has Mental Problems

Your spouse's mental health problems may affect some aspects of your divorce case in Missouri. Although state law in ...

ARS 25-319 Regarding Arizona Divorce Laws & Spousal Support

Arizona courts use several factors to determine whether a divorcing spouse qualifies for spousal support and to ...

Divorce Maintenance in New York for a Spouse Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

New York courts award spousal maintenance on a routine basis for spouses who are unable to support themselves ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED