Understanding Spousal Support In Your Divorce Case

Alimony, spousal maintenance, spousal support — it has gone by many names. Generally, it is an amount of money, in a lump sum or continuing payments, for the financial benefit of a spouse, so that the spouse has adequate resources after the termination of a marriage.

It is interesting to note that in almost every state in the country, the spousal support/maintenance laws are uniquely different. This applies to the two states in the Fargo/Moorhead area: North Dakota and Minnesota.

In North Dakota, Fault Might Matter

In North Dakota, fault — such as desertion, abuse, or neglect — can, and is, considered in determining a spousal maintenance award. The law regarding alimony is very broad, essentially consisting of two sentences:

  • The court will take into consideration the unique circumstances of the parties, such as their ages, education, earning capacity, employment history, length of marriage, fault in the marriage (particularly economic fault), need and ability to pay.
  • The court may require one party to pay spousal support to the other party for any period of time.

It is imperative that you note that the court must take into consideration, any extant circumstances that affect the person seeking spousal support. Exceptional legal representation is essential in these cases.

In Minnesota, Several Factors Determine If Support Is Warranted

If, however, you live in Minnesota, it matters not whether you were unfaithful, emotionally cruel, or abandoned your family when your marriage ended. Even if those circumstances exist, the court, by law, cannot take any of that information into consideration when awarding spousal support.

In Minnesota, courts determine alimony awards on a variety of specified factors, including:

  • Whether a person lacks sufficient resources to maintain the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage
  • Whether a person has sufficient ability to generate an income
  • Whether the person has custody of children, and that custody might preclude adequate fiscally-appropriate employment

Because so many factors affect an alimony award, it is prudent to have an established attorney representing you. Melinda Weerts Law, PLLC, located in the Fargo/Moorhead area, has more than 20 years of family law experience handling spousal support concerns in both North Dakota and Minnesota. Our lawyers will protect you interests and work toward a resolution that helps you meet your goals.

Free Consultations Available

Whether you are looking to obtain spousal support, contest an award or modify an existing order, we can help. To meet with us to discuss your case, please call our office at 701-297-2234 or send us an email.