1. How do Minnesota courts split up property in a divorce?
In Minnesota, separate property is not usually included in what is divided up between divorcing spouses. However, Minnesota law does permit a judge to include it, when necessary. Necessary is defined as avoiding unfair hardship for either spouse. Spouses also have the option of changing a separate property into a marital property through the ownership title. If this happens, the court views the property as a gift from one spouse to the other.
2. I made a lot of money in the past, but, in this economy, I cannot pay in maintenance (alimony) anywhere near what I could have three years ago—will the court understand what happened to me?
Courts do allow spouses to petition for a change in their alimony if life circumstances change. This does not mean a paying spouse can just start paying less because his or her financial circumstances have changed. Instead, the request to decrease the amount paid must be treated in much the same way as the original process of establishing alimony was treated. You will need to work with an attorney who can provide guidance regarding how to update a maintenance or alimony award.
3. How is child support and maintenance in Minnesota calculated?