Minnesota Courts Do Not Consider “Fault” When Determining Spousal Maintenance

There are many considerations the court takes into account before determining the spousal maintenance amount owed by one spouse to the other, yet “fault” is not one of these. This shows that courts are trying to reach an objective decision based on: assets, income, investments, and the details of each divorce situation. Let’s examine these considerations within the divorce process in Minnesota.

Determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance in Minnesota

In many cases, one spouse is seeking financial support from the other spouse that has a higher income.  If the two parties cannot reach an agreement on the amount and duration of a spousal maintenance award, then the issue will be tried before a Court.  The Court will examine all relevant factors including but not limited to the following:

    • Standard of living in marriage
    • Age, as well as physical and emotional health of recipient
    • Seeking spouses ability to meet needs independently, w/any children
    • Time and money needed for training and education for work
    • Homemaker time spent absent from employment outside of home
    • Contributions of each spouse into property, business, investments
    • Ability of paying spouse to meet the needs of themselves and seeking spouse
    • Seeking spouse’s financial resources, including marital property and assets

Most cases are settled without going to trial.  In doing so, both parties save significant amounts in attorney’s fees, costs, as well as the emotional toll a multi-day trial may take on both parties.

Legal Counsel can Help Resolve Spousal Maintenance

If there is any dispute regarding spousal maintenance, it is highly recommended to speak with an attorney regarding your particular situation. Some folks may try to save a few bucks by choosing to not retain an attorney.  This may lead to a spousal maintenance recipient leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table or a spousal maintenance obligor being locked into a spousal maintenance obligation that is unmodifiable.  Even with an uncontested divorce, the settlement agreement should be reviewed by attorneys, in order for each party to know what it is they are agreeing to.


Both parties involved in a Minnesota divorce proceeding would greatly benefit by knowing what considerations are taken into account by the courts when determining spousal maintenance. The courts never consider “fault” in their decisions, in order to determine an objective amount.


Gilbert Alden, PLLC focuses on family and divorce law in Minnesota in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. We are located in Burnsville, MN, and have the experience and expertise to professionally represent your interests during a divorce. Whether the divorce is contested or not, seeking legal counsel will bring optimal results – short and long-term. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

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