What Factors Do Michigan Courts Consider in Spousal Support Cases?

What Factors Do Michigan Courts Consider in Spousal Support Cases?

Spousal support – or alimony, as it’s often called – is a payment system that is sometimes employed post-divorce. When a divorce leaves one spouse without the financial means to support themself while the other has the financial ability to help, spousal support may be ordered. Each spousal support case is considered on an individual basis, and there are a range of factors that play a role in the process. If you have questions or concerns about spousal support, an experienced Michigan spousal support attorney can help.

The Factors Considered

As mentioned, Michigan courts make alimony determinations on a case-by-case basis, which means they can take any factors deemed relevant to the divorce at hand into consideration. The primary factors that generally guide these rulings, however, include the following:

  • The length of the marriage – alimony is rare after a very short marriage
  • Each spouse’s age and overall physical and mental health
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity and ability to work
  • The property division each spouse received in the divorce
  • Each spouse’s separate assets
  • Each spouse’s present situation
  • Each spouse’s needs, including any unique needs that may support an alimony order
  • The standard of living the couple achieved over the course of their marriage
  • Whether either spouse is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage – fault, however, generally isn’t a complete bar to receiving alimony
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate, including in the form of homemaking and staying home to care for the children
  • The supporting spouse’s financial ability to pay
  • The degree to which either spouse supported the other’s earning power

Michigan courts attempt to balance the general principles of equity when they hand down alimony orders, which means they carefully assess a wide range of variables in relation to the couple before them.

Types of Alimony in Michigan

There are four primary types of spousal support in Michigan.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is ordered for a specific amount of time – at which point it ends. For example, the court may order one spouse to pay all the household bills while the divorce is pending. Once the divorce is finalized, another form of alimony may or may not be ordered.

Periodic Alimony

Periodic alimony generally relates to one spouse paying for the other’s education or job training. For example, if the recipient puts their own career on hold to stay home with the kids while the other grows their career, periodic alimony may be in order.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony has no expiration date, and it generally applies only after long marriages or when the primary custodial parent has a child with significant special needs who requires ongoing care.

Lump Sum Alimony

Lump sum alimony is rare, but it is sometimes employed when the spouses want a final split at the time of divorce.

Reach Out for the Skilled Legal Guidance of an Experienced Michigan Spousal Support Attorney Today

The practiced spousal support attorneys at The Smith Law Offices – proudly serving Westland and Ann Arbor – offer fierce legal support with a personalized touch that translates to favorable case resolutions. To learn more, contact us or call us at 734-729-4465 today.

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