Legal Question in Family Law in Minnesota

divorce alimony

I have not officially worked for 10 years, but have sold some real estate - last year none, this year $6000 in income. Husband makes $200,000+. Can I collect alimony to support me?

Asked on 7/08/09, 12:11 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Jesperson Minnesota Lawyers - Jesperson Law Offices
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Re: divorce alimony

If you are divorced, the answer depends on whether alimony was "reserved" by the court in your divorce decree. The decree will say something like, "spousal maintenance for the wife is reserved," or, "the court hereby reserves jurisdiction over an award of maintenance to the wife." If that is the case, you must bring a motion to establish maintenance, and the success of that will depend on your age, how long ago you were divorced, and a number of other factors. If you were already awarded maintenance, and have not collected any, a motion to enforce the obligation is required.

If you are still married, whether or not you are living together, you will need to commence either a proceeding for divorce, or for legal separation. A legal separation proceeding is somewhat unusual, since it looks, in almost all respects, like a divorce proceeding. The only consequence of a proceeding for legal separation is that you remain married after the action is completed, and the court has only made an award of maintenance (i.e. alimony)and perhaps given one or another of you possession of the house or other property. Years ago, proceedings for legal separation were called an action for "separate maintenance." These days, about the only time someone petitions for separation is if they have not lived in the state long enough for Minnesota to have jurisdiction over their marriage -- that is, they haven't lived here for six months. In some instances, the parties will petition for legal separation for religious or other unique personal reasons. But, again, such precedings are uncommon.

Short of taking legal action, there is no way to obtain money for your support. You should call my office if you have further questions or concerns. 952.285.2944

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7/08/09, 6:00 pm

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