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Understanding issues regarding permanent alimony

A common concern for people in Minnesota who are choosing to get a divorce is how much spousal maintenance - if any - they will have to pay or will receive. Often, one spouse provides the support during the marriage and when a marriage ends, the other spouse will have a limited set of skills to get a job. They may also have other responsibilities such as children that make it impossible to function without enough alimony to pay for everything.

In many instances, alimony will be paid on a permanent basis relegating the payer to supporting the ex-spouse for the rest of his or her life. For a great number of people, this is a problem as they can't keep up with the payments while also supporting him or herself.

Take one example. People who are paying alimony to a former spouse and then choose to remarry are faced with the prospect of continuing to pay for the upkeep of one person while also trying to support a new family. In some cases, the former spouse will even try to extract more from the supporting spouse. The unending nature of alimony can negatively influence the person who is paying as he or she might feel as if there is a life sentence being paid for a failed marriage.

On the other hand, in many cases it's necessary to require a former spouse to pay a certain amount of money on a permanent basis. If, for example, the former spouse is disabled, has no means of supporting him or herself or there is a disabled child, then it is reasonable to expect the support be paid continuously. What those who are protesting the requirement to pay on a permanent basis need to understand is that there are legal consequences for failing to do so. Before acting rashly in a manner that will add to the burden, it's smarter to try and find a legal solution with the help of a qualified legal professional.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "Taking the 'permanent' out of permanent alimony," Geoff Williams, accessed on Sept. 16, 2014

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