What You Should Know About Alimony Before Divorce

If you are preparing for divorce, you may also have to plan for the prospect of alimony — whether it is paying or receiving it. If one spouse earns significantly more money than the other and you have been married for at least several years, it is possible a judge will order an alimony arrangement. In most cases, the payer will need to make these payments until:

  • The receiving spouse gets remarried
  • The death of either party
  • The payment period set by the judge expires
  • A judge determines the financial circumstances of one of the parties has changed in a significant way that warrants a change

The following are a few things you should know about alimony before your divorce:

Information for the payer

An alimony order is not a condemnation of you or your behavior during the marriage. Rather, it is part of what the court views as your marital responsibility after having entered a contract with your spouse on your wedding day. It is designed to help your former spouse maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce.

Your payments are legally protected. If you do not make your alimony payments, your spouse could seek to have you held in contempt of court or take other actions that could result in legal penalties.

Information for the recipient

Whether you qualify for alimony is determined mostly by your earning capacity, rather than by the amount you are earning at the time you go to court. Other major factors include your spouse’s earnings and your standard of living while you were married.

This concept of “earning capacity” is important. If you currently do not have a job, but are a qualified individual, you might receive less alimony than someone who works full time at a minimum-wage job and would require additional education or training to move up in their careers.

To learn more about how alimony works after a divorce, contact a knowledgeable Minnesota divorce lawyer with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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