Spousal Support (Alimony)

What is Spousal Support (Alimony) ?
In Michigan, the concept of spousal support is commonly known as alimony. Spousal Support is separate from child support, and can be ordered above and beyond child support and is designed to balance the incomes and needs of the parties in a way that would not impoverish either party. It is a money allowance given by one spouse to another, intended to pay for that spouse’s health, education, and general welfare. It is not intended to be part of the division of marital property. Such support is meant to be rehabilitative, to allow the receiving spouse time to get adjusted to the divorce and establish himself or herself financially. Like Child Support, Spousal Support provides that the payor’s employer withholds an amount of Spousal Support, for direct disbursement through the Friend of the Court. Spousal Support is typically paid on a monthly basis. Call us today at 248-662-5499 for a free consultation to discuss the spousal support options in your particular case.

How is Spousal Support (Alimony) Determined in Michigan?
Several factors are considered by a judge when determining whether spousal support should be awarded in a divorce or separate maintenance case. The factors to be considered, evaluated, and determined by the judge are:

  1. The past relations and conduct of the parties.
  2. The length of the marriage.
  3. The ability of the parties to work.
  4. The source and amount of the property awarded to the parties.
  5. The age of the parties.
  6. The ability of the parties to pay alimony.
  7. The present situation of the parties.
  8. The needs of the parties.
  9. The health of the parties.
  10. The prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others.
  11. General principals of equity.

In Michigan, there is no specific mathematical formula for determining whether or not spousal support should be awarded. Additionally, there is no specific mathematical formula for determining the amount of spousal support that should be awarded. Finally, there is no specific mathematical formula for determining the length of time that spousal support should be awarded. Each case for spousal support is dependent upon the unique factors of the case and the judge assigned to the case.

What is the Difference Between Modifiable Spousal Support and Non-Modifiable Spousal Support?
If you go to trial and spousal support is awarded, it can always be modified. This is a MODIFIABLE spousal support or alimony award. This means that if a party has a change in circumstances, the award can change. It also means that spousal support could continue indefinitely.

Many people, when they agree to a settlement, agree to award a NON-MODIFIABLE spousal support payment that anticipates a specific monthly dollar amount for a specific period of time. Many people agree to this type of spousal support so that they know what to expect in the future. However, if there is a change in circumstances of either party (loss of a job, need for more support, etc.), Michigan laws provide there can be NO CHANGE to the NON-MODIFIABLE spousal support award.