Alimony can be one of the most contentious points in a divorce settlement. This type of payment, also called spousal maintenance, is designed to ensure that a spouse who earns less money can still afford a reasonable standard of living after the divorce is final. Many clients have questions about who can get alimony and the circumstances under which spousal support is awarded.
Types of Alimony in Minnesota
Minnesota family courts may order one of three different types of alimony.
● Temporary maintenance, which is usually based solely on the income of each spouse, is ordered while the divorce proceedings are still pending.
● Short-term maintenance is designed to fund a specific goal, such as education or job training, for a limited amount of time after the divorce. This is sometimes called rehabilitative alimony and is often reviewed at specific intervals to determine whether established goals are being met.
● Permanent maintenance is usually reserved for situations in which the marriage lasted at least ten years and one of the spouses is unable to self-support. This could occur if a parent has been out of the workforce while raising children, for example. Permanent maintenance is not necessarily permanent. The court order could indicate an end date or event, such as a remarriage or cohabitation with another adult.
Although some courts recognize lump-sum alimony or reimbursement alimony designed to compensate one spouse for providing specific assets to the marriage or supporting his or her partner’s education, this is not the case in Minnesota.
Criteria To Determine Alimony
Because Minnesota has not established a specific calculation for spousal support, the court will make an independent determination in each case based on the assets and earning ability of each spouse, the need for job training or education on the part of either spouse, the financial and non-financial contributions each person has made to the marriage, the length of the union, the age and health of each person and the general standard of living during the marriage.
Modifying Court-Ordered Alimony
Understanding alimony requires an understanding of how the amount can be modified. If either party experiences significantly increased or decreased income, the court can determine that a new amount is more appropriate for the current situation. In some cases, substantial new expenses can also warrant a modification. If both partners agree that the amount of permanent maintenance should never be modified, this must be stated in the divorce decree.
In Minneapolis the Law Offices of SeilerSchindel, PLLC offers collaborative family law solutions, including divorce, child custody, and alimony negotiations. Contact our office today for a confidential consultation.
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