Debunking common myths about alimony

Debunking common myths about alimony

A number of incorrect assumptions exist regard alimony, with the chief among these being that it is awarded in all divorce cases in Westland and that it is only given to women. In reality, the laws regulating alimony (or “spousal support” or “maintenance,” as it is often called) can be quite complex. Alimony is not simply meant to punish the party in marriage who achieved the most financial success; rather, it is designed to help those who receive it to transition into their post-divorce lives while still enjoying the same quality of life they achieved while married. 

What if both parties in a divorce case are already able to support themselves (and their children) financially? Indeed, according to Section 552.23 of Michigan’s Revised Statutes, alimony or maintenance is only awarded in a divorce case if one party does not have the resources to support themselves (as well as any children that have been entrusted to their care). Two important elements can be taken from this statute, the first being that only certain cases will qualify for alimony, and that even if it is rewarded, such a reward is meant to be temporary (as it is needed only to the point that a divorced parent secures the ability to support themselves). 

The assumption that alimony is only awarded to women may seem to have merit given that (per information shared by CBS News) 98% of the 243,000 Americans who reported receiving alimony in 2016 were women. However, this is likely due to social factors rather than any legal precedent. Indeed, in cases where a woman was the primary income earner in her marital home, it may be mandated that she pay her ex-spouse alimony. 

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