When you are getting a divorce in Minnesota, you may be concerned about what your finances are going to look like after your marriage has ended. In particular, if your spouse is not working or if you earn significantly more money than your spouse does, you may be concerned about how much you will need to pay in alimony or spousal support in Minnesota.
The answer to this question varies depending upon a huge number of different factors relevant to your specific divorce. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you to determine what your support obligations are likely to be.
How Much Support Will I Have to Pay?
The first consideration in assessing your support obligation is whether you have a prenuptial agreement or not. If you signed a premarital agreement with your spouse, that agreement may specify an amount of alimony that must be paid. If your prenuptial agreement specifies an amount of spousal support that your spouse is entitled to, you can expect that you will be required to pay this amount in almost all circumstances. While a prenuptial agreement can sometimes be invalidated, this is relatively rare. It is, however, important to note that any agreement made regarding child support in a prenuptial agreement is likely not to be enforced.
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, the next thing to consider is whether you and your spouse can work out an out-of-court agreement on your own. If you are able to come to an agreement, then you can determine together the amount of support that should be paid. Coming to an agreement out of court on your own is generally a faster, cheaper and more amicable way to resolve the issues in a divorce and both you and your spouse may be happier with the outcome of your divorce if you can agree on issues of support and asset division on your own.
Finally, if you are not able to come to an agreement and you do not have a premarital agreement, the question of support will need to be litigated. This means a family court judge will decide. The family court judge will consider many factors in making a determination on how much support you have to pay including:
- The length of your marriage
- The education and career potential of both spouses in the marriage
- Any absences from the workforce that your spouse may have taken during the marriage, such as taking time off from work to care for the children
- The financial and non-financial contributions that each spouse made to the marriage
These are just a few of the relevant factors that the judge will consider when making a decision regarding the amount of support that must be paid. As a general rule, the longer your marriage and the greater the discrepancy in your salary and actual earning potential, the larger the amount of support you can expect to be required to pay after your marriage has ended.