Spousal Support and Alimony in Michigan

Spousal Support In Michigan

In Michigan, each party may request spousal support, or alimony.    There is a statutory right to request this support.  One thing to note is that each and every Judgment of Divorce must state that spousal support is either awarded, not awarded and forever barred, or reserved to each party.  To reserve spousal support means that it is not being awarded presently, but can be considered by the Court in the future.  If it is not awarded and forever barred, it means that even if things change, the party cannot ever come back and ask the court for it to be awarded.  Be careful! If your Judgment is silent on the issue, it means that spousal support is reserved for possible consideration by the Courts in the future.  It is an important right to consider in your Divorce.

The way that the Court decided whether to award spousal support, and how much and how long to award it for is by an analysis of the following factors:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The parties’ contributions to the joint estate
  • The parties’ ages
  • The parties’ health
  • The parties’ station in life
  • The parties’ necessities and circumstances
  • The parties’ earning capabilities

It is possible for the Court to award “permanent” spousal support or alimony.  The courts generally find it appropriate in the following circumstances: A long term marriage, where one party was a homemaker or stay at home parent with no career or marketable skills, where one party had a superior earning capability, and consideration of any disabilities a party may have. 

The other kind of spousal support is rehabilitative spousal support.  This type of support is awarded where one person may have been the higher earner, but because of certain factors, the other person can make the transition to being able to support themselves.  So factors such as age and education become very important. 

Another important thing to note is that spousal support or alimony can be modifiable or non-modifiable.  A Court, without agreement of the parties, can only award modifiable support.  This means that if the income of a party changes, or some other life circumstance changes, the parties each have the right to ask the court to consider a change in spousal support.  This can be a good thing, or it can be a bad thing.  For example, if you are the payor, and agree to non-modifiable support- if you lose your job, you are still required to make each and every payment.  The Court is not allowed to consider your change in income.  This could be disastrous! 

Spousal support or alimony has the ability to greatly affect your income and your future.  Please call us at (313)945-9050 if you have any questions regarding awards of spousal support or alimony in your divorce.

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