Are alimony payments a life sentence?

Are alimony payments a life sentence?

When most people marry, they hope to be together forever. Despite this wonderful sentiment, most are all too familiar with the statistic that fifty percent of all marriages will end in divorce. The end of a marriage may be the beginning, a fresh start for some, while for others it may be a never ending saga of court proceedings, ranging from alimony, child custody to property issues.

Michigan residents, who are in process of a divorce, may find it interesting to learn that in some states, after a divorce is finalized, one spouse may be required to pay the other spouse spousal maintenance or alimony permanently. In one case, in addition to child support payments, a man was ordered to pay his ex-wife nearly $90,000 per year. Nearly 57 percent of this man’s income goes to his ex-wife. In another cases, a dentist was obligated to pay his ex-wife $10,000 a month, and a physician was obligated to pay his ex-wife about $6,000 a month.

Although most states have moved away from permanent alimony, some still follow it. In Michigan, when determining if alimony is necessary, the court considers various factors such as the length of marriage, each spouses earning capacity, assets, prior standard of living, age, health needs and, most importantly, the Michigan courts look at the general principal of fairness or equity.

Even though the courts follow a guideline, the alimony payment amount is negotiable, and should not be greater than necessary or burdensome on the person ordered to pay it nor should the person who may need it be short-changed. Since these amounts can vary greatly, it is important to understand your rights and obligations.

Source: Business Insider, “It’s Sad How Many Divocees Are Sentenced To A Lifetime Of Alimony Payments,” Geoff Williams, Jan 28, 2013.

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