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Understanding Spousal Support

Spousal support can be a contentious topic between divorcing spouses. Most people want to know whether they’ll have to pay or receive spousal support, and what might affect that determination.

Spousal support is designed to ensure the lower-earning spouse’s standard of living doesn’t decline too much—at least until they’re able to support themselves. Here’s what you need to know about spousal support in Minnesota.

Who gets spousal support?

Remember, you and your spouse can always agree on a support amount and who pays—but if you can’t agree, you will need to present evidence to the court and have a judge decide. In Minnesota, judges have leeway to award spousal support if the lower-earning spouse doesn’t have enough assets to provide for their needs, cannot support themselves or their child’s care needs make it impracticable to work outside the home.

Spousal support can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis. Judges do not consider marital misconduct such as infidelity, but will take into account “all relevant factors.” This includes but is not limited to:

  • The supported spouse’s financial resources
  • Age and physical wellness
  • How long it will take for the spouse to become self-supporting, taking into account age, skills and work history
  • How long the marriage lasted and the standard of living the couple had
  • Whether one spouse will lose retirement benefits, loss of earnings and other employment opportunities
  • Whether one spouse gave up employment opportunities to be a homemaker
  • Whether the supporting spouse can afford to pay
  • Each spouse’s contribution to marital property, homemaking or a family business

Therefore, spousal support is determined on a case-by-base basis. The best way to find out whether you’ll need to pay or receive support is to talk to an attorney about your options, and negotiate an agreement with your spouse, if possible.

For help with your divorce and spousal support questions, call the knowledgeable divorce lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN.

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