During your divorce, the court may award you alimony (called spousal maintenance in Minnesota), which you would begin receiving in monthly installments at such time the court issues an order for spousal maintenance. This spousal maintenance arrangement may be permanent or temporary, depending on the circumstances of your marriage and divorce.
When the divorce is finalized, you may be able to go back to court and change the spousal maintenance amount or duration based on significant changing circumstances in your life or the life of your former spouse. However, there are certain circumstances you may not be able to change the spousal maintenance amount or duration.
If the court does not order spousal maintenance at the time the divorce is finalized, you may not be forever barred from raising the issue with the court at a later date. It all depends on the language in the divorce decree and the circumstances that have changed since the divorce decree.
When alimony is awarded
The question becomes a matter of when you can actually get spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance will generally be paid by the higher-earning spouse as a way to “level the playing field,” so to speak, and to ensure the lesser-earning spouse can maintain a reasonably consistent standard of living to what he or she experienced during the marriage. If one spouse does not make significantly less money than the other, the court may not award spousal maintenance to either spouse.
Permanent spousal maintenance is ordered in circumstances when the court believes the spouse receiving the payments will never be able to narrow the income gap. This tends to be the case if there is a large gap in education or employability, or if one party has health concerns that prevent them from working. Temporary spousal maintenance, meanwhile, is ordered when the court believes the party receiving spousal maintenance payments will eventually be able to improve their income, or the income gap would otherwise be narrowed..
To learn more about how spousal maintenance works, meet with an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
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