What does spousal maintenance or alimony include and how it is calculated?

Spousal maintenance may be paid from one spouse to another and should provide for the reasonable monthly expenses of the obligee spouse so that spouse may maintain the same marital standard of living he or she enjoyed during the marriage.

Examples of expenses included in spousal maintenance or alimony

Spousal maintenance or alimony may include but is not limited to the following expenses: mortgage, second mortgage, home equity line of credit, rent, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, PMI, association fees, gas, electric, internet, water, sewer, home repair, home cleaning or home cleaning supplies, rental insurance, security system, telephone, cell phone, yard/landscaping services and supplies, snow removal services/and or supplies, pest control, clothes, footwear, personal hygiene/skin/nails, groceries, electronics, software/laptop, laundry services/supplies, dry cleaning, alterations and supplies, dining out, cigarettes, alcohol, Newspapers/magazines/books, hobbies/recreation, spending money, vacations, club or association dues, sports tickets, concerts/museums, movies, video rentals, Netflix, auto repair, auto maintenance, auto payment, auto insurance, gasoline, parking, bus fare, car tabs, medical insurance, medical supplies, uninsured medical/dental expenses, dental insurance, vision insurance, glasses, lenses, vitamins /other supplements, life insurance, long term disability insurance, savings, retirement, gifts, charitable contributions, pet expenses, postage, and credit card/other obligations. Again, the expenses must be reasonable. For example, if a couple has never made a charitable contribution during the marriage and the obligee spouse includes a request to contribute a $1,000 per month as a monthly expense to be paid by the obligor spouse as spousal maintenance, a Court is likely to reject this expense as it would exceed the marital standard of living.

Examples of expenses excluded from spousal maintenance or alimony

Spousal maintenance typically does not include expenses for significant others,third parties. In some cases, expenses related to the parties’ joint children that are not covered by child support may also be included. Other expenses that exceed the marital standard of living, are not actually incurred or will not be incurred may be excluded by the Court. For example, if a home is awarded to an obligee spouse and there is no encumbrance on the property, there is no basis for the obligee spouse to claim he or she is making a mortgage payment because the home is owned outright.

Spousal maintenance or alimony is taxable as income to the spousal maintenance recipient

Since the obligee will pay income taxes on the spousal maintenance received, savvy divorce attorney’s will gross up the amount of the obligee’s monthly living expenses to include the income taxes the obligee will pay on his or her receipt of spousal maintenance. In many cases, this may include grossing up the spousal maintenance award 20%-35% in order to reflect the income taxes the spousal maintenance recipient may pay.

How is spousal maintenance or alimony calculated in Minnesota?

Spousal maintenance is based upon an obligor’s ability to pay versus an obligee’s need for spousal maintenance. There is no formula a court will use to calculate spousal maintenance. In order to calculate a spousal maintenance award, a court will examine the obligee’s need which is typically done by analyzing his or her reasonable monthly expenses. After determining the obligee’s reasonable monthly expenses, a court will look at whether the obligor has the ability to pay the obligee’s monthly expenses while paying his or her own monthly expenses. In many cases, a court will cut back on both parties claimed expenses while providing sufficient support for the obligee and ample cash flow for the obligor.

Consult with an alimony attorney regarding making or defending a spousal maintenance claim

Contact us at 612-564-3622 for a free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney whom can guide you in better understanding alimony/spousal maintenance.

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