Will I Get, or Have to Pay, Alimony?

February 20, 2013  |  Elizabeth A. Schading

In Minnesota, alimony is known as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance.” There are few hard and fast rules where spousal support is concerned.
It won’t be a factor at all in some divorce cases, and it’s difficult to predict for sure whether it will be a factor in yours, or what kinds of numbers you might be looking at.
There are, however, some common scenarios that trigger spousal support considerations. The first is a large disparity in income between you and your spouse. If one spouse makes $100,000.00 per year and the other makes nothing, then spousal support is almost certain.

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The second “trigger” would be a long marriage period. Again, there’s no hard and fast rule, but the dissolution of a 30 year marriage is more likely to result in the payment of spousal support than the dissolution of a marriage of 5 years.
The courts take many factors into account before awarding spousal support.
Spousal support also may or may not last forever. There are temporary awards, meant to get one spouse “back on their feet” before moving into independence, and there are permanent awards which are awarded for life, typically when such a move into independence seems unlikely.
The age and skills of the spouse who might be awarded spousal support are taken into account. The court will consider how long education, re-training, and employment may take.
The courts will consider the standard of living that you and your spouse have maintained during the course of your marriage. The courts will also consider your expenses and your spouse’s expenses.
The court will look at the contributions to the acquisition, appreciation, and depreciation of marital property. Homemaking and unpaid work in the family business are both important contributions in the eyes of the court.
There is no “spousal support” calculator that you can turn to in Minnesota because the guidelines are very loose. It comes down to negotiations, agreements, good arguments, and what might seem fair to the judge.
This is why you absolutely need a good family law attorney on your side when you get a divorce. Contact us for a consultation.