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Michigan Family Law Blog

Who Qualifies for Spousal Support (Alimony) in Michigan?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Jun 07, 2021

When spouses divorce, an individual may be required to pay spousal support to their partner. Spousal support is financial support to assist a spouse who may not have the financial resources to support themselves after a separation or divorce. Michigan's divorce statutes define when a spouse qualifies for spousal support. Our Michigan support attorney fights to ensure you receive the financial support you deserve during and after a divorce proceeding.

Am I Entitled to Receive Spousal Support Under Michigan Divorce Laws?

Under Michigan Complied Laws section 552.23, the court may order a party to pay spousal support if the property awarded to a spouse is not sufficient and suitable to support the spouse and any children of the marriage remaining in the care of the spouse.

Spousal support may be granted to either the husband or the wife. Support payments may be paid periodically or in a lump sum.

Periodic payments may be short-term to allow a spouse to obtain additional education or training for a job that would provide the financial support the spouse needs after a divorce. Long-term or permanent spousal support is granted for marriages over ten years or in cases in which a spouse cannot work, or there is a significant disparity in each spouse's earning capacities.

How Much Spousal Support Will I Receive?

If a judge determines that spousal support is warranted in a case, the judge must determine the amount of spousal support. The Michigan Supreme Court defined factors courts should consider when deciding cases involving spousal support in the case of Sparks vs. Sparks, 440 Mich 141 (1992).

Factors a judge uses to decide spousal support in Michigan are:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The present situation of both parties
  • The health, age, and needs of both spouses
  • The past conduct and relations of the parties
  • The spouses' contributions to the joint marital estate
  • The ability to work and the earning potential of both spouses
  • The difference in the level of income between the parties
  • The marital assets received by each party in the divorce and the earning potential of those assets
  • The standard of living of the parties during the marriage
  • The payor's ability to pay spousal support
  • The payee's financial responsibility to care for others, including minor children and adult children with disabilities or special needs
  • How cohabitation impacts a party's financial status
  • The fault for the breakup of the marriage
  • General principles of equity and fairness

Judges may consider any factor that they deem relevant to make a fair and equitable decision regarding spousal support.

If a spouse refuses to pay court-ordered spousal support payments, the court may issue an Order to Show Cause to force the party to appear in court. The court could impose sanctions for failing to pay spousal support. If a person has a reason for not paying spousal support, it is better to speak with a lawyer about modification of support payments rather than cease making support payments.

Contact Our Michigan Divorce Attorney for More Information

Our Michigan divorce attorney can assist you with a divorce proceeding, including seeking spousal support. Our law firm can also help you petition the court to enforce or modify spousal support payments. Conta us today to speak with a divorce lawyer about your situation.

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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