What Factors Determine Spousal Support Payments?

What Factors Determine Spousal Support Payments?

Jun 21, 2022

Many preparations need to be made when filing for divorce. A married couple must decide upon living arrangements and resolve all the terms of their divorce. As the divorce is being filed in court, the lower-income spouse may even ask for spousal support.  

If you are going through the divorce process, know that you are not alone. Contact the Law Offices of Robbins & Licavoli, PLLC, today to discuss your case.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is the payment of money to a lower-earning spouse in order to ensure that both parties can continue the same standard of living that they grew accustomed to during their marriage. In Michigan, a spouse is entitled to alimony as long as the requesting spouse can demonstrate that they are in financial need and that the paying spouse has the ability to pay. 

Alimony allows spouses who are in unhappy marriages, or even dealing with domestic violence, the security they deserve to afford them a better life.

In accordance with Michigan state law, if the alimony recipient spouse remarries, then the conditions of the alimony may be terminated unless stated otherwise in the divorce settlement agreement. 

Types of Spousal Support

If you qualify for spousal support, the court will then determine which type of support is best for your situation. In Michigan, there are four different types of alimony: temporary, periodic, permanent, and alimony in gross.

  • Temporary: Support that will only last during the divorce process.  It is usually awarded to either spouse when there is a financial disparity.  
  • Periodic: The most common type of spousal support in Michigan. Periodic support can be awarded either short- or long-term, depending on the circumstance. If a spouse needs time before re-entering the workforce, then short-term support may make the most sense. Usually, the end date for periodic support is stated in the divorce settlement.
  • Permanent: Only awarded in Michigan in rare circumstances; this type of support is awarded only if the lower-income spouse is unable to support themselves due to age, health, or disability.
  • Alimony in gross: This type of support is awarded to a spouse in a lump sum, reserved for cases where the burdened spouse is able to afford to pay a lump sum alimony amount. This type of support is often personal or real property instead of receiving a monetary payment.

Factors that Determine Spousal Support Amounts

In order to begin divorce proceedings, either spouse must testify that there is little chance that the marriage can be saved. Although Michigan is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that neither spouse has to supply a specific reason for terminating their marriage, fault plays a factor in determining spousal support. For instance, cheating could very likely impact a judge’s decision to award alimony.

The amount of alimony awarded is decided by looking at a number of factors:

  • Each party’s conduct and contributions during the marriage
  • Age, needs, and health of both parties
  • The financial situation of each party
  • Earning capacity of both parties
  • The prior standard of living of both parties
  • Whether either party has dependents to support
  • Each party’s contribution to the marital estate
  • Whether either party is cohabitating and how that affects their financial status

Speak with a Michigan Divorce Attorney in Your Time of Need

Although you entered into nuptials with the intent of spending the rest of your life with one person, circumstances change. If you are in the process of filing for a divorce, you need a dedicated divorce attorney who is able to protect your interests. Contact us to schedule your legal consultation today.

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