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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

FAQs About Spousal Support in Michigan

If you are facing a divorce in Michigan, you may be struggling with how you will survive after divorce and whether or not you will receive future support. A skilled Michigan spousal support attorney will be able to explain spousal support in Michigan and help position you for the best possible results in final settlement.

What is Spousal Support in Michigan?

Spousal support, or alimony, is financial support awarded to one party in a Dissolution of Marriage settlement agreement. There are three categories of spousal support in Michigan:

  • Short-term support
    • allows for adjustment to changes in circumstance and lifestyle following divorce
    • Provides for further education or job retraining
    • intends for the recipient to become self-supporting
  • Long-term or permanent spousal support
    • for marriages of 10+ years
    • bridges the disparity of income-earning abilities between spouses
    • provides for a spouse who is unable to work
    • modifiable with change of circumstances or upon retirement age
  • Alimony in gross
    • a division of assets to satisfy a lump-sum settlement payment
    • typically makes arriving at settlement easier
    • generally non-modifiable

Am I Eligible for Spousal Support in Michigan? - 14 Factors

Spousal support in Michigan is based on 14 factors, including the parties’ marital conduct and conduct contributing toward the divorce. These factors are weighed by the presiding judge, with decisions based on need, not entitlement.

  • Length of marriage
  • Parties’ ages
  • Parties’ ability to work
  • Parties’ ability to pay support
  • Parties’ needs
  • Parties’ health
  • Marital standard of living
  • Parties’ contributions to the joint estate
  • Parties’ past relations and conduct
  • Parties’ fault toward divorce
  • Parties’ present needs
  • Division of marital assets/liabilities
  • Cohabitation
  • General principles of equity

Is “Fault” Considered When Deciding Alimony?

Michigan still considers marital fault when deciding alimony. Abuse, adultery, and neglect can all result in the award of spousal support and an increased support amount as punitive action against the payor.

How Much Spousal Support Can I Get?

There is no fixed formula for calculating support in Michigan. After factoring the length of marriage and the 13 additional factors, the final alimony amount is determined per the judge’s discretion.

When Does Alimony End?

Many factors determine the duration of spousal support payments. However, alimony may be reduced or end if the payor can show an adverse change in personal circumstances or decreased needs of the recipient. When a recipient spouse remarries or cohabitates, support generally ends.

How Do I Collect Unpaid Spousal Support?

When a party fails to remit court-ordered support, the unpaid balance accumulates as “arrears”.

Wage garnishment and recourse through state and federal agencies may be helpful in collecting court-ordered support and arrearages.

Do I Need a Michigan Divorce Attorney?

Divorce is a time of significant vulnerability and high stress. Details can easily fall through the cracks as overwhelm sets in. Working with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney is vital to protecting your interests and securing your financial future. Don’t navigate the complexities of divorce alone. Contact our office today. We will help to guide you and set you on the path to a better future.


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