In some Minnesota divorces, spousal support may be an issue. Spousal support, which is commonly called alimony, consists of monthly support payments that are made by a higher-earning spouse to a lower-earning spouse for a period of time after a divorce. It is not ordered in every case.

In order to determine whether to award spousal support as well as how much to award, courts consider several factors. They consider how long the couple was married, the lifestyle that they have enjoyed, the need of the recipient, the ability of the payer to meet the obligation, and the health and age of both parties.

The goal of spousal support is to prevent a non-earning or lower-earning spouse from suffering harsh economic consequences after a divorce. In some cases, spousal support may be ordered for a set duration in order to allow the recipients time to finish college or to complete job training so that they can support themselves. In others, awards of spousal support may be permanent. Spousal support orders can be modified if the financial circumstances of the parties have changed.

People who are getting divorced may either be ordered to pay spousal support or may be able to receive it. People who believe that spousal support might be an issue may want to consult with experienced divorce lawyers. An attorney may review the assets, debts, and income of both spouses and provide an honest assessment of whether spousal support might be ordered. The attorney may then try to negotiate an agreement that protects the client’s interests. If an agreement cannot be reached, the lawyer may litigate the outstanding divorce legal issues, including questions about spousal support, in court.