Washington County, Minnesota Divorce Law Firm Explains Alimony and Spousal Maintenance

Seeking or challenging spousal maintenance payments in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Stillwater and Woodbury, MN

At Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., we understand spousal maintenance claims may be driven by need — or by vengeance. We work diligently to protect your interests, regardless of which side of the claim you are on. Whether you need to contest an alimony claim or to secure your financial stability for the future, our experienced family law attorneys are ready to provide aggressive legal representation.

What kind of spousal maintenance is available in Minnesota?

Spousal maintenance in Minnesota, commonly known as alimony, can be granted in various forms under Minnesota law, depending on the requesting spouse’s needs and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. Common types of spousal maintenance awards include:

  • Temporary spousal maintenance — Temporary maintenance may be awarded to a requesting spouse while the divorce is pending. Temporary maintenance usually terminates automatically when the divorce becomes final.
  • Rehabilitative spousal maintenance — This type of support is referred to as rehabilitative because it helps support the requesting spouse while he or she gets additional education or training in order to become self-sufficient.
  • Permanent spousal maintenance — Permanent maintenance may be awarded to a requesting spouse if a judge determines the requesting spouse’s need is likely to be permanent.

How long does spousal maintenance last?

The duration of support is determined by the court on a case-by-case basis, but alimony generally terminates if either of these events occur:

  • Death of the receiving spouse
  • Remarriage of the receiving spouse

Changes in the receiving spouse’s financial circumstances may also justify a modification or termination of spousal maintenance.

What does a court consider in deciding whether to grant spousal maintenance?

Minnesota law provides that spousal maintenance may be awarded only when the court finds one of the following situations exists:

  • The requesting spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, considering the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage. Training or education may be considered a reasonable need.
  • The requesting spouse is unable to be self-supporting through appropriate employment, considering the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage and other relevant circumstances.

Courts also consider the impact of the child custody arrangement when the requesting spouse is the custodial parent of a child whose condition or circumstances make it inappropriate to require the spouse to seek employment outside the home.

What are the tax consequences of spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is generally taxable as income to the receiving spouse and deductible as an expense for the paying spouse. This is one reason a paying spouse might prefer a spousal maintenance order over a greater share of marital property — alimony payments are tax-deductible, but proceeds from a property division are either tax-neutral or possibly subject to capital gains tax if assets must be liquidated to accomplish a property division.

Call today for a free consultation

With an office in Lakeville, Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. serves clients throughout Minnesota, including in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. Contact us online to schedule a meeting, or call us at 651-379-3024. We provide trustworthy advice and thorough representation in all types of family law disputes. Free parking and flexible scheduling are available.

Contact the Firm


Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.


20856 Holyoke Avenue,
P.O. Box 369,
Lakeville, Minnesota 55044