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When Will Spousal Support Be Awarded in a Michigan Divorce?

 Posted on December 31, 2020 in Divorce

Farmington Hills divorce attorney spousal support

If you are getting divorced, you will likely have a variety of financial concerns, ranging from your ability to cover court costs and attorney’s fees, to how your marital assets and debts will be divided, to whether you will be able to support yourself once your marriage has ended. Depending on the income you and your spouse earn, one of you may be required to provide financial support to the other after your divorce. By understanding when spousal support (which is commonly known as alimony) is appropriate and how the amount and duration of payments are determined, you can prepare a post-divorce budget that will allow you to meet your ongoing needs.

Factors That May Affect a Spousal Support Award

Typically, spousal support is awarded if one spouse earns a significantly higher income than the other, and its purpose is to ensure that both spouses can continue living at the standard they became accustomed to during their marriage. In some cases, spouses may agree in their divorce settlement on the amount of support that will be paid, as well as the length of time that payments will last. Couples may also use a prenuptial agreement to specify whether alimony will or will not be paid in the case of divorce.

In the absence of an agreement, the decision about whether to award spousal support will be left up to the judge in a divorce case. Since Michigan’s divorce statutes do not specify what a judge should consider when making these decisions, precedents from previous cases will usually be used to determine whether spousal support is appropriate. Some of the factors that may be considered in these cases include:

  • The parties’ conduct while married - Even though Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that spouses will not need to state why their marriage has broken down in their divorce petition, the fault may play a role in decisions about spousal support. Issues such as abuse, infidelity, or dissipation of marital assets may be considered.

  • The parties’ age and health - These issues may affect a spouse’s ability to find work and support themselves or pay spousal support, as well as their financial needs. Older people or those with underlying health conditions may have difficulty finding employment later in life. 

  • Each party’s assets and financial resources - The marital property awarded to each spouse during divorce and the separate property each spouse owns may affect their overall financial situation.

  • Equity - A judge will want to ensure that decisions about spousal support and other divorce-related issues are fair to both parties when making determinations. 

Since Michigan law does not include a formula that should be used to determine the amount of spousal support payments, a judge will determine what is appropriate based on the spouses’ financial situations and needs. In some cases, spousal support may be paid in a lump sum, but it will most often be made through regular payments. These payments will usually only last for a certain amount of time, which will usually depend on the length of the parties’ marriage. In cases where a couple was married for a long amount of time or where a spouse has extraordinary needs, spousal support payments may be permanent.

Contact Our Farmington Hills Spousal Support Attorneys

If you believe that spousal support will be a factor in your divorce, you will want to work with an attorney to ensure that this issue is addressed properly. Whether you are seeking spousal support or are being asked to pay alimony, the attorneys of Elkouri Heath, PLC can advocate on your behalf and help you achieve an outcome that will protect your financial interests. Contact our Oakland County divorce lawyers today by calling 248-344-9700 and scheduling a free consultation.





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