Alimony in Michigan – What you need to know

What is Spousal Support?

Alimony, or “spousal support” as it is referred to in Michigan, is money paid by one party in a divorce to the other party on a monthly basis (usually) to provide for the care and well-being of the other spouse who may not be in as good of a position to care for oneself following a divorce. Whether spousal support is appropriate must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. And while it may sometimes appear that women are always going to be on the receiving end of such a benefit, that perception should be thrown out the window as the only way to truly evaluate whether spousal support is appropriate, and to whom it may be entitled, is to apply the facts of each case to the factors below.

Is Spousal Support Appropriate?

MCL 552.23 (1) authorizes the court to award spousal support to the other party in a divorce as is “just and reasonable, after considering the ability of either party to pay and the character and situation of the parties, and all the other circumstances of the case.” Case law identifies eleven factors that should be considered when determining whether spousal support is appropriate; they are:
• Past relations and conduct;
• Length of the marriage;
• Parties’ ability to work;
• Source and amount of property awarded to each party;
• Age;
• Ability to pay;
• Parties’ present situation;
• Need;
• Health;
• Prior standard of living and whether either party supports others;
• General principles of equity.

Rehabilitative vs. Permanent Support

There are two kinds of spousal support in Michigan: rehabilitative and permanent. Rehabilitative support is temporary, and it is intended to help the receiving party make an easier transition to being single. The amount that is ordered to be paid, and the duration for which the receiving party is entitled to the support is analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Permanent spousal support lasts forever. As one would expect, an order for permanent support is rare unless the receiving party can establish great need, i.e., the party is too old or sick to work.

Michigan Spousal Support Attorneys

If you are going through a divorce, it is important to hire an attorney to protect your rights. You cannot trust the other party or the other party’s attorney. When it comes to developing a theory for spousal support, or to modify an already existing spousal support order, our office has considerable experience in getting clients all that they are entitled to receive. Please call our office (586-268-2400) for a free telephone consultation.