More commonly known as spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance is financial support that is provided by one spouse to another according to the terms of a valid antenuptial agreement, court order, or settlement such as those made in mediation. In Minnesota such spousal support is called spousal maintenance. The terms “alimony” and “spousal support” are not part of the legal vernacular although the public commonly use these terms when speaking about spousal maintenance.
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Minnesota courts evaluate a number of factors to determine what, if any, spousal maintenance should be provided. While the court considers a variety of factors when determining spousal maintenance (alimony), including the length of the marriage, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the relative income of each party, and the needs of each spouse, the driving factor is to avoid an unfair economic consequence as a result of a divorce. Unlike child support, courts are allowed broad discretion in determining whether or not to require one spouse to provide support to another.