What Is A Non-Working Spouse Entitled to in A Divorce in Minnesota?

what is a non working spouse entitled to in a divorce

If you are divorcing an unemployed or underemployed spouse, you may be wondering what they are entitled to in the divorce settlement. Issues like alimony, spousal support, and child support often arise when one spouse is financially dependent on the other. Read on to learn more about what a non-working spouse may be entitled to during divorce proceedings.

What is Spousal Support or Alimony?

Spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony, is financial support paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce is finalized. The purpose of alimony is to help the recipient spouse maintain a standard of living comparable to what they enjoyed during the marriage or to become financially independent.

Is a Non-Working Spouse Entitled to Alimony?

In Minnesota, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse if they are financially dependent and unable to provide adequate self-support after considering factors like:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Standard of living established during marriage
  • Age, health, education, and employment history of both spouses
  • Contributions to the marriage by each spouse, including homemaking and childcare
  • The financial resources and income-earning potential of each spouse.

So, in cases where one spouse has not been working outside the home, alimony can help the non-working spouse maintain financial stability after the divorce.

The determination of whether alimony will be granted and the amount will hinge on the unique circumstances of your marriage and divorce. Seeking guidance from an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney can assist you in comprehending your entitlements and alternatives for spousal support.

Does a Non-Working Spouse Automatically Get Alimony?

No, alimony is not automatically awarded in every divorce case. The court will evaluate various factors to ascertain whether one spouse should provide ongoing financial support to the other.

For instance, if the marriage was short-term or the dependent spouse is educated and capable of self-support, the judge may deny alimony requests. Or, if both spouses earned comparable incomes, neither may qualify for spousal support.

It’s important to remember that divorce laws vary by state. Meet with a divorce lawyer in your area to understand if you may be entitled to alimony or spousal maintenance. Don’t assume you will or won’t get alimony without seeking legal advice first.

What About Child Support for a Non-Working Spouse?

Alongside spousal support, a non-working parent may also be eligible to receive child support payments from the other spouse. The parent that the child lives with most of the time typically gets child support from the other parent.

The amount of child support is determined by state guidelines and factors like both parents’ incomes, the child’s expenses, and the custody arrangements. The parent paying child support must continue payments until the child turns 18 or graduates high school.

Child support and alimony serve different purposes. Child support is the right of the child, while alimony provides financial assistance to the ex-spouse. However, both can be important sources of income for a non-working parent after divorce.

Can a Non-Working Spouse Get Additional Assets in the Divorce?

In addition to spousal support, a non-working spouse is entitled to a fair share of marital property acquired during the marriage. Minnesota is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning marital assets are divided fairly between spouses, though not always exactly equally.

Some of the factors considered when dividing marital property include:

  • Each spouse’s income and financial needs
  • Contributions made by each spouse to acquiring assets
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Loss of inheritance or benefits for a spouse

Marital property includes assets like the family home, retirement accounts, investments, businesses, cars, jewelry, and other property obtained during the marriage. An experienced divorce lawyer can value assets, negotiate a property settlement, and protect your legal rights.

Though the non-working spouse may not have directly earned or contributed financially to acquiring property, Minnesota law entitles them to a just share based on their non-financial contributions to the marriage as a homemaker, parent, etc.

Health Insurance

The divorce decree may also require one spouse to provide health insurance for the children. If coverage is available through an employer, the cost of adding children to the plan can be included in the child support calculation.

For the non-working spouse, the divorce decree may order that they be kept on the other spouse’s health insurance plan for a period of time after the divorce is finalized. This provides continuity of coverage as they transition to financial independence.

Working with a Knowledgeable Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce when you have not been employed can feel overwhelming. At Martine Law, our caring team of family law attorneys and staff provide the guidance and support you need during this difficult process. We help clients understand their rights, navigate complex divorce laws, and advocate aggressively to protect their best interests.

Some of the key benefits we provide Minnesota clients include:

  • Advising you of your legal rights and options as a non-working spouse regarding property division, spousal support, child custody, and other critical divorce matters.
  • Valuing all marital assets fairly and equitably to ensure you receive your lawful share. Complex assets like businesses require specialized knowledge.
  • Negotiating firmly on your behalf to maximize spousal support based on your needs and ability to become self-sufficient.
  • Determining child custody arrangements and related parenting time that is truly best for your children.
  • Helping secure a favorable child support order that provides for your children’s needs.
  • Guiding you through the legal process smoothly by handling all documents, filings, financial disclosures, and details.
  • Offering compassionate support so you don’t feel alone during this difficult transition.
  • Fighting tenaciously in court if your spouse does not negotiate reasonably or agree to fair settlement terms.

The outcome of your divorce will impact the rest of your life. With so much at stake, it pays to have a knowledgeable family law attorney protecting your rights and handling negotiations firmly and strategically on your behalf. Don’t leave your future to chance.

Working with a Minnesota Divorce Lawyer

Navigating a divorce in Minnesota can be complex, especially when spousal support, child support, and property division come into play. An attorney experienced in family law can offer guidance on your rights and ensure your interests are protected.

At Martine Law, our compassionate lawyers understand this is likely an emotional and challenging situation. We provide the knowledgeable legal representation needed to secure a fair divorce settlement while offering emotional support during this difficult transition. If you are divorcing a non-working spouse, contact us today to schedule a free case review.

Author Bio

Xavier Martine

Xavier Martine is the Founder of Martine Law, a Minnesota criminal defense and family law firm. Serving clients in Minneapolis, MN, and surrounding areas, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of criminal matters, including DWIs, drug charges, misdemeanors, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. He also represents clients in family law matters, including divorce, child support, and child custody.

Xavier received his Juris Doctor from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys Under 40 in Minnesota” in 2021 by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. He was also named the “Best DUI Lawyer in Minneapolis” award in 2023 by Expertise.com and a “Rising Star” in 2023 by SuperLawyers.

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