Spousal maintenance, more commonly known as alimony, is frequently a source of controversy in family law. Are spouses who receive alimony lazy freeloaders? Or is a spouse who refuses to pay spousal support failing to recognize the many contributions the payee made during the marriage to make the payer’s financial success possible?
In Minnesota, whether a spouse is entitled to maintenance is determined case by case. If the spouses cannot agree on an alimony plan, the judge overseeing their divorce will consider several factors, including:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The spouses’ respective wealth and earning capacity
- The spouses’ standard of living during the marriage
- Each party’s age and health
- How the marital property will be divided
Thus, a spouse with little independent wealth and no job who is used to a comfortable standard of living may be more likely to be awarded alimony than other divorcing spouses.
Many people have an image of spousal support as lasting the rest of payee’s life. But the court does not automatically award permanent alimony. The judge may issue a temporary order for support, to provide the payee financial assistance until he or she is able to receive necessary training or education to get a job.
If alimony is a contentious issue in a divorce, each side’s divorce attorney will need to make a strong case to the judge to rule in their client’s favor. An attorney with extensive experience in family court, including with high-income divorce matters, would be the most likely to help obtain the result you are seeking.