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Divorce and Family Law

Spousal Support Is Not Guaranteed

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Alimony — which is now called “spousal support” in Michigan law — is a payment intended to make sure that neither party suffers from the divorce and that both parties are taken care of in their post-divorce lives. Not everyone qualifies for spousal support, and the amount of the payments will be related to other factors of your case such as the property division agreement.

A stay-at-home mom or dad may be entitled to alimony to help him or her get re-educated; to help him or her find a job, or to maintain him or her indefinitely depending on facts and circumstances of any situation. A divorce should not mean poverty for a nonworking parent.

If you and your spouse can come to an agreement about spousal support, it is always best to do so. When you cannot come to an agreement, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods are unsuccessful, your case may proceed to trial, where a judge will rule on a binding spousal support order.

In making its decision, the court will consider many factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Who was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage
  • How long you were married and how old you are
  • Whether you can work, and what kind of work you can get
  • The health of each spouse

It is important to note that — unlike for child support — there is no formula for determining the amount of support, and these payments are not administered or enforced by a state agency. Payments may be temporary or permanent, and paid periodically or in a lump sum.