Michigan Spousal Support
In Michigan, what is commonly known as "alimony" is referred to as "spousal support." Many people, considering alimony to be "a thing of the past," are surprised to learn that spousal support is often awarded in Michigan divorces.
Unlike with child support, there is not a specific formula for determining whether an award of spousal support is appropriate, how much should be awarded, and for how long. Unless a divorcing couple agrees on these issues, they are left up to the judge presiding over the divorce case. And as with any matter left to a judge's discretion, having a knowledgeable, experienced Michigan family law attorney on one's side can make a big difference.
Michigan Spousal Support Factors
When considering whether to award spousal support, how much, and for what duration, Michigan family court judges must consider a number of factors, many of which are quite subjective. These include:
- the length of the marriage;
- each spouse's age and health;
- the needs of each spouse;
- each spouse's ability to work;
- the ability to pay of the spouse from whom support is requested;
- each spouse's property and assets (including property awarded as part of the divorce);
- the couple's standard of living during the marriage;
- whether either spouse was at fault in the breakdown of the marriage;
- general principles of fairness and equity.
One of the purposes of spousal support is to allow the spouse receiving it to have time to get the training or experience needed to support him- or herself. Spousal support may be awarded on a short-term, temporary basis, for this reason. Long-term spousal support is more likely to be awarded when the marriage is one of long standing, the spouses are older, and the spouse requesting support is less likely to be able to become self-supporting.
Spousal support, whether ordered by the judge after a hearing or on the agreement of the divorcing couple, can be non-modifiable or can be open to change in the future. A skilled and experienced divorce attorney can predict with good accuracy what a particular judge might do in a particular case and use that information to her client's best advantage
Experienced Michigan Spousal Support Attorney
When negotiating regarding spousal support, or presenting one's case to a judge, the attorney you have makes a difference. Hastings Family Law Attorney Carol Jones Dwyer has over twenty years of experience as a Michigan attorney. She is familiar with the law regarding spousal support and understands the best way to present her client's position for a favorable outcome.
Spousal support, whether ordered by the judge after a hearing or on the agreement of the divorcing couple, can be non-modifiable or can be open to change in the future. An experienced divorce attorney can predict with good accuracy what a particular judge might do in a particular case and use that information to her client's best advantage.
Carol Jones Dwyer handles both initial spousal support determinations and modifications of existing spousal support awards. She serves clients in Barry County as well the surrounding Michigan counties, including Ingham, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun, Ionia and Kent Counties.
If you would like to learn more about how Carol Jones Dwyer can help you reach a favorable result on the issue of spousal support, please contact our office at 269-945-5050 or via our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.