According to court documents recently made public, singer Marc Anthony pays his ex-wife a monthly alimony payment of $3,500. The singer has two children with his ex, and in addition to the alimony, he pays $6,500 for each child per month in child support. Both monthly payments have the singer paying his ex-wife about $16,500 a month. Even eight years after their divorce was finalized, the singer continues to meet his monthly obligation.

Given the facts above, Michigan residents in the process of a divorce may be wondering if alimony–also known as spousal support– applies to them, what their legal obligation is, the formula used to calculate it and more. In today’s hard economy, it is natural for a divorcing party to ask if alimony is appropriate.

In Michigan, courts consider various factors when making a determination of whether alimony payments should be awarded. Some of these factors include the length of the marriage, both parties’ earning capacity, health and age, difference in incomes, standard of living, children and more. Courts follow a specific guideline in determining the amount, but it is important for parties to keep in mind that alimony obligation amounts are negotiable. Parties can work together on the issue in a cost-effective manner to create a fair arrangement which does not burden one side.

Further, it is important for both the payer and recipient of alimony to understand that such payments are not permanent. Instead, they depend on factors such as the receiving party’s ability to get the appropriate training to seek gainful employment. Thus, a spousal support modification may be issued based on a change in circumstances such as an increase or decrease in income.

Divorce can be a difficult and multifaceted process. It is important and in some cases necessary for those going through a divorce to seek legal advice so that they can fully understand their rights and obligations.

Source: Anti Music, “Marc Anthony Paying Ex-Wife Over $16,000 A Month,” Nov. 19, 2012