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Michigan Family Law Blog

What Happens to Alimony When an Ex Dies

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Jul 31, 2018 | 0 Comments

Alimony is also known in Michigan as spousal support.  There are two basic different types of alimony.  Alimony in gross is more like a property settlement where one spouse gives the other spouse more of the property rather than paying support to the other spouse.  Typically this type of alimony is paid in a lump sum shortly after the divorce, but it may also be paid in installments or the lump sum payment could be delayed.  When it comes to alimony in gross, if the paying ex-spouse passes away, the surviving ex-spouse can collect the outstanding amount due from the deceased ex-spouse's estate.  If the recipient ex-spouse passes away, the recipient ex-spouse's estate may collect the outstanding amount due from the surviving ex-spouse.

The other type of alimony is simply called spousal support or alimony (drop the "in gross").  There are very basically two types of spousal support, modifiable and non-modifiable.  In the case of modifiable alimony, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a set monthly amount with no specific end date.  Either party may file a motion based upon a change in circumstances to increase, decrease or eliminate the support.  If the paying ex-spouse dies, then the surviving ex-spouse may seek to continue to collect payments from the deceased ex-spouse's estate until the judge orders such payments to cease based upon the motion of the deceased ex-spouse's estate.  If the recipient ex-spouse passes away, the alimony terminates. 

In the case of non-modifiable alimony, the parties agree to an order for a set monthly payment with a set date when the support will terminate.  Here, if the paying ex-spouse passes away, the surviving ex-spouse can collect the remaining payments from the estate of the deceased ex-spouse until the agreed upon alimony termination date.  If the recipient ex-spouse passes away before the alimony termination date, then the alimony terminates upon the death of the recipient ex-spouse and the surviving ex-spouse has no duty to the deceased ex-spouse's estate.  If you have any questions about alimony , divorce or post-divorce issues, please do not hesitate to contact us at (248)608-4123 or [email protected]

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...

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