This particular post will focus on what is commonly called “temporary” or “rehabilitative” spousal maintenance.  In short, “rehabilitative” spousal maintenance is defined as temporary spousal support payable for a temporary period of time to one spouse following a divorce to help that spouse get in a position of self-support or to “rehabilitate” that spouse.  In other words, “rehabilitative” spousal maintenance helps one party get back on his or her feet following a divorce.

This issue of “rehabilitative” spousal maintenance made local headlines following a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision in August 2011. Click here for a local news story on the case. This case concerned a thirty (30) year marriage, and where the husband earned roughly $525,000 per year as a local TV news anchor, and the wife earned $3,000 per year as a part-time fitness instructor.  The wife had a college degree, and had worked in the past as a special education teacher for the first five (5) years of the parties’ marriage.  At trial, the wife’s expert witness testified that the wife could be re-certified as a teacher within one year, upon which her potential income would be approximately $37,000.  The trial court found that wife was not intentionally trying to limit her income and considering the parties’ high marital standard of living (and the parties’ incomes); the trial court awarded the wife $17,155 per month in permanent spousal maintenance.   The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial court’s decision on spousal maintenance, and remanded the case back to the trial court to re-determine the issue of spousal maintenance.  In short, the Minnesota Court of Appeals was interested in the possibility that the maintenance recipient – in this case the wife – could become fully or partially self supporting after re-education or retraining. In short, a Court may award temporary – or “rehabilitative” – spousal maintenance, where one the spouses has some education (e.g. college degree), the person is in good physical and mental condition, and is younger in age (e.g. 35 years old versus 60 years old), but may need a few years of financial support for the other spouse following the divorce in order to obtain more training, etc. to become self-sufficient. In these types of cases, courts have awarded temporary spousal maintenance for a defined or finite period of time – so that the recipient of spousal maintenance can obtain training to get back on his/her feet. The topic of spousal maintenance has been discussed previously on this blog – click here or here for previous posts on the topic of spousal maintenance.

Talk to a Minnesota Divorce Attorney Today

If you have questions about whether a Court will award temporary spousal maintenance in your divorce case, it is important to speak with an experienced Minnesota alimony lawyer. Contact our Minnesota family law attorneys today for a free consultation about your specific situation.

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