Spousal support can be an emotional landmine. In addition to being overly charged, alimony is particularly tricky because there are no formal guidelines or formulas to help determine what is reasonable.
In Minnesota, there are five typical solutions for alimony settlements.
What can the court do?
Judges typically award alimony to a spouse in a marriage lasting more than ten years, who sacrificed their career for either the sake of their spouse or for the sake of their children. When there is an income disparity that precludes them from maintaining their family’s lifestyle after divorce, the judge may order alimony.
The court has three alimony options. They are:
- No maintenance at all
- Temporary maintenance: a recipient of a temporary spousal maintenance award can return to court near the end of the award period to ask for more.
- Permanent maintenance: alimony paid until there is a substantial change in circumstances; the recipient’s remarriage, the payor’s good faith retirement, or the payor’s loss of employment.
Each of these solutions is somewhat unsatisfactory for many. The unpredictability of the future can leave both spouses worried and unhappy.
Are there other options?
Divorcing couples can explore two other options. These options provide “certainty” for both parties, which may bring peace of mind. If the couple agrees, they may petition the court to enact them.
- A Karon waiver: this agreement locks in a specific duration for spousal support, and a set amount for the payment, regardless of future circumstances.
- A buyout: one spouse accepts a lump sum of money in exchange for waiving alimony forever.
Minnesota awards alimony in cases where a spouse has sacrificed for their family.