To help both spouses maintain financial stability after a divorce, the court may order one to pay spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony.
There are many inaccurate beliefs about spousal maintenance. You should understand the purpose of spousal maintenance so you know what to expect in your divorce.
Myth 1: It is an outdated practice
Some people see alimony as a relic of past generations when wives seldom worked and relied on their husbands’ income. Although family dynamics have evolved over the years, there are still many situations in which spousal maintenance is appropriate.
According to Minnesota law, a judge may grant spousal maintenance if one spouse is unable to provide for his or her own needs. Sometimes, one spouse forgoes work or education to run the household or care for children, making it difficult for him or her to find employment after the divorce. In other situations, a parent must leave work after gaining full custody of young children.
Myth 2: It is a punishment
The court considers many factors in determining alimony payments, but punishment is not one of them. Minnesota law states that the court must determine spousal maintenance “without regard to marital misconduct.”
Myth 3: It allows one spouse to take unfair advantage of the other
Spousal support should not allow one person to live extravagantly at the other’s expense. Rather, it covers basic necessities, such as food, rent and bills. The court considers both spouses’ finances and will not order a payment that creates a financial hardship for the paying spouse.
As you navigate your divorce, you may receive inaccurate information from well-meaning acquaintances. It is important to take everything you hear with a grain of salt and focus on the facts.