Yes, a valid prenuptial agreement is really the only way to protect yourself from alimony or "spousal support" as it is called in Michigan. I have been practicing family law in Michigan since 1996 and I am divorced myself. One conclusion I have reached after handling literally thousands of divorce cases, is that virtually everyone who is contemplating marriage should at least meet with a qualified family law attorney to get an understanding of what they are legally getting into before they get married because most people have no idea. There are also particular categories of people for whom I believe a prenuptial agreement is essential. If you are contemplating an engagement or marriage, please contact my office to schedule a consultation through our website or by calling (248) 608-4123 today.
A Prenuptial is Essential if You Will be the Primary Wage Earner or Have a High Income.
Alimony is alive and well in Michigan and if you are the primary wage earner or "bread winner" or your income is significantly higher than your spouse, you face the potential of a significant spousal support award in the event of a divorce or separation. No decent person gets married with the intention of getting divorced but it is a possibility, all one has to do is look at the statistics to know that many marriages do end that way. The only true way to protect yourself is by getting a prenuptial agreement that clearly spells out each party's rights, expectations and responsibilities during the marriage and in the possibility of a divorce.
Spousal support should be distinguished from child support. Some clients have expressed confusion between the two and whether you can address them in a prenuptial agreement. Child support is based upon a formula that takes into account a variety of concrete factors, such as incomes of the parents, number of overnights each child has with the parent, health insurance payments and child support in cases where the child is under the age of twelve. You cannot address child custody, parenting time or child support in a prenuptial agreement, those are determined by the rights of the child and cannot be contracted away by the parents.
Spousal support is essentially alimony. It is based upon a set of guidelines or factors developed by case law and is intended to provide support for the lower-income earning spouse. Alimony is not determined by a formula and in some cases can lead to outrageous results and sums of money being awarded to a spouse, often unfairly from the eyes of the payor. An alimony award can result in a lump-sum payment, short-term monthly payments, long-term monthly payments or permanent monthly payments. Unlike child support, spousal support can and should be addressed and handled in a reasonable manner through a prenuptial agreement, rather than by the application of an outmoded set of standards developed over centuries and applied by a court.
If you or a family member are contemplating a wedding this spring, now is the time to schedule a consultation to get an understanding of how your rights will be effected and what you might be able to accomplish with a prenuptial agreement. Please do not hesitate to contact us either through our website or by calling (248) 608-4123.