Alimony is called spousal support, or spousal maintenance, in Minnesota. The terms can be used interchangeably in conversation but each one has developed a negative connotation that doesn’t always hold up to the stereotype.
Many couples separate somewhat amicably and can settle any alimony disputes in mediation. Mediation is a healthier way to separate, but sometimes it doesn’t work. Some divorces are too contentious for mediation and must be settled in a more structured environment where you have less control over the outcome of your case.
Occasionally, people will be dishonest and manipulative to either get more money or pay less money in spousal maintenance.
However your marriage ends, you may have to pay or receive some sort of alimony if the details of your marriage meet the necessary qualifications. It is best to be prepared for any conversation you will have on the subject.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is basically a legally binding payment given by one person to their former spouse who currently lacks the funds to fairly regain stability in a new environment. The person with a higher income and with more assets will usually be the one to pay the spouse who makes and has less.
This does not mean that alimony will be awarded to everyone who requests it just as it will not be suspended for every person who refuses to pay. In fact, many people wave the option to ask for it while others will break the law so that they don’t have to pay it. You will need experienced legal support no matter who you are dealing with.
How Are Alimony Payments Determined?
There are several forms of alimony that determine the length of time that a spouse will pay but the amount you will pay is determined by several monetary factors:
- Age, physical health, mental health, and length of the marriage
- Both persons’ income and assets
- Standard of living during the marriage and current living expenses
- The person’s ability or inability to find a job based on their level of education, work experience, and skills that will allow them to pay their basic living expenses.
It isn’t enough just to answer these questions. Every claim made must be backed up with some sort of proof.
Your age, the length of your marriage, and each person’s work history and educational experiences are all public knowledge and can be verified very easily. All the other factors can be manipulated either accidentally or purposefully to affect the outcome of your case.
Can People Skirt The System?
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, which means that accusations of infidelity, irresponsible spending of shared finances, and other problems do not factor in a divorce settlement. Therefore, they will most likely not count when it comes to figuring the cost of spousal support.
The subject is not taken lightly and every decision should be made with equality in mind.
A person may have a physical or mental disability that decreases their ability to work and support themselves. We can ask for proof of these problems from a trusted physician and make a judgment based on those assertions.
Sometimes a person may have an inflated idea of how much money it takes to keep up their standard of living, especially if they were overspending the family’s shared income. A person may also have a misunderstanding of what is considered essential living expenses, and we can clear this subject up for everyone involved.
Unfortunately, some individuals may hide money, proof of assets, or even expensive purchases to keep them from being counted as shared property. Some may even fudge on their current income level or costs of insurance, for example, and there seems to be nothing that you can do about it.
But there is something you can do. We can gather the proof that we need together.
How Can I Prevent Dishonesty Concerning Our Finances?
Even if you are not in a position to contribute equally to the finances, you should know your financial position as much as possible, especially if the divorce has not been filed but is in the cards.
Save screenshots of online banking statements or keep ahold of the ones that you get in the mail. Be aware of your spouse’s purchases and, if only for your possible protection, make copies of any contracts or bills of sale that you come across.
Create a detailed list of their known assets and make sure that they are all reported. Pay attention to any doctor visits related to their mental health or any detrimental health problems that they may have. Knowledge is your best protection.
Most importantly, be honest about what you have and try, for the kids, to make this tremendous change as smooth as it can possibly be. You will need assistance in organizing paperwork and investigating the details accurately.
Who Can Help Me Get A Fair Deal?
You need a supportive and efficient team to give you the strength, guidance, and information you will need to get the best results. We have the know-how and experience to get the job done well and the drive to begin immediately.
Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A. would love to be the rock you depend on during such difficult times. Please, contact us with your questions, and we can set up a free consultation to put your worries at rest. Our team is always available to help. Call us at 952-938-3411 to get started. Thank you to Jennifer Beckman for this article.