Does unemployment affect spousal support?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | Divorce, Spousal Support/Maintenance |

Spousal maintenance is an order by the court when the higher earning partner in a divorce must pay a monthly amount to the other party to ensure financial stability for basic needs following the divorce.

In Minnesota, a family court judge determines the duration of payments. Any adjustments to this order must come through the court, even if the income situation changes between parties.

Unemployment and support obligations

Although the court will determine the amount of spousal maintenance, a couple going through a divorce can negotiate the terms before the judge decides. If negotiating on spousal support is possible, it is best to decide on important details concerning financial ability before it becomes a problem.

In this case, what options are available should the paying party lose their job, become disabled or experience another event that could prevent paying the full amount of support? Failing to pay the obligations has severe consequences, and the court is not always proactive in addressing support modifications.

Spousal support modifications

It is possible for an individual to appeal spousal support orders, but there are no certainties that the court will reduce the obligations. If the obligated party is receiving unemployment income, spousal support is still possible, though it has the potential to reduce the earnings of the individual. If there is no income to pay the support obligations, requesting the court to modify the order is possible.

Having a divorce decree spell out any limitations or exceptions concerning spousal support is important. Unemployment, on its own, is not enough to remove support obligations.