What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance, also commonly known as alimony, is defined as a recurring payment, usually monthly, that is paid by a husband or wife to their former spouse following a divorce. Spousal maintenance is meant to prevent one spouse from adverse economic hardship following the divorce if he/she has insufficient funds from assets and income to meet his/her monthly expenses. While most people have to make some financial and lifestyle changes following divorce, spousal maintenance can sometimes keep the scales more balanced between the parties and the sacrifices they make.
Spousal maintenance is an issue in many divorce cases, which means it is very possible it will be on the table in your divorce. If you believe you or your spouse may need to pay spousal support and have additional questions, keep reading to learn more.
What determines if a spouse will be awarded spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN?
The spouse requesting maintenance payments must demonstrate that he or she has a need for a financial contribution to reasonable monthly expenses based on the standard of living during the marriage. You’ll have a pretty good idea of whether you or your spouse will be awarded spousal maintenance based on your current employment situation and earnings, but there are many factors that affect whether or not spousal maintenance is ultimately paid in your case.
One common scenario that may lead to spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN involves stay-at-home parents: one parent may have quit their job when the kids were born so he or she could stay home with them, while the other parent has worked to support the family. Both parents have made financial contributions to the marriage, whether through providing a monthly income or reduced childcare costs. However, when getting divorced, the stay-at-home parent may be underqualified and may face a competitive workforce when looking for a new job. This could potentially lead to the working parent paying their co-parent spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN temporarily or indefinitely, depending on the circumstances.
Does the child support award affect a proposed spousal maintenance award?
Child support is a separate payment made from one parent to the other intended to support the child’s needs, such as food, clothing, and school supplies. It is not meant to support the parent’s needs; he or she will need a source of income for that. If spousal maintenance has been awarded, it is meant to help ease the burden on an individual to provide for him or herself, not for a child. Spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN can be affected indirectly by having children, like if one parent is awarded custody of small children and needs to stay home to care for them. Additionally, the amount of child support that is paid is affected by the amount of spousal maintenance a spouse receives because spousal maintenance in ST. Paul MN is considered income for the purposes of determining the amount of child support.
When does spousal maintenance generally stop?
Spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN can be awarded on an indefinite basis or for a specific length of time. The amount and length of spousal maintenance depends on several factors, including, the length of the marriage; the age and physical and mental health of the parties; the loss of earnings, seniority, and retirement benefits to a spouse who has been out of the workforce; the length of time it will take for a spouse to become self-supporting, and the financial resources of both parties.
Regardless of the length of time for which spousal maintenance is awarded, there are some common events that can cause it to terminate. They include:
- The death of a party
- Remarriage of the spouse receiving maintenance
- Increased income for the spousal maintenance recipient
- Decreased income for the payor of spousal maintenance, which would mean economic hardship for him or her if they continued paying spousal maintenance
- Retirement of the payor of spousal maintenance
Can a partner appeal for more spousal maintenance if the other partner gets a raise?
If the paying partner receives a raise, or if their income increases significantly for another reason, the recipient can file a motion for the spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN amount to be increased if he or she is not receiving sufficient maintenance to meet reasonable monthly living expenses. Conversely, the paying partner can ask for a reduction in spousal maintenance if their ex-spouse begins receiving a higher salary or gets a new, high-paying job and doesn’t need as much in support to be financially comfortable.
Is spousal maintenance only awarded in high asset divorce cases?
The short answer is no. Spousal maintenance in St. Paul MN can be awarded in any divorce case based on the financial situation of each spouse. Remember, the court is concerned with any circumstance where a spouse will suffer economic disadvantage without ongoing financial support from his or her ex-spouse.
Regardless of the value of a couple’s assets, the parties can choose to negotiate spousal maintenance and come to an agreement without requiring the court to decide. If one party is asking for spousal maintenance, the other party may be able to offer another type of compensation in exchange for decreasing the spousal maintenance payment or taking it off the table altogether. You do have options when it comes to negotiating spousal maintenance, so you should contact an experienced St. Paul, MN divorce attorney who can walk you through the process.
Spousal maintenance is one of the most complex areas of divorce and family law in St. Paul MN and requires assessment of the parties’ income, expenses, assets, and debt. Contact Allison Maxim at Maxim Smith to discuss your particular situation as it relates to spousal maintenance.