Alimony in Michigan: The Basics | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Alimony in Michigan: The Basics

If your divorce case, the first thing you need to know is that Michigan handles support on a case-by-case basis. Support is established to help ensure both people are equitably supported post-divorce. There are many factors involved in determining whether spousal support is appropriate and for how long it should be paid. Here’s what you need to know.

Collaboration is an Option

Our team of attorneys in Grand Rapids has extensive experience working through Collaborative divorces. This team-based approach to solving divorce matters can also be used to agree on alimony payments with your spouse. If your communication and problem-solving skills allow, you can often settle many issues regarding your property and finances without needing a court to intervene and make a decision.

When Collaboration is not an Option

If, however, you and your spouse are unable to agree on support payments, the court will make a decision. The judge will consider a range of factors in the decision making process, including:

  • Length of Marriage: The court is more likely to award spousal support the longer you have been married.
  • Employment: If one spouse is unable to work, unlikely to find work, or lacking a career or sustainable job skills, the court may award support in their favor.
  • Age and Health: These factors are mostly considered as they apply to employment, but also include considerations for medical bills, fixed income and retirement.
  • Property Division: A judge will also look at the rest of your divorce case and weigh the division of property, especially liquid assets, in their spousal support decision.

It is important to know that these are just a few of the factors a court may consider in determining if spousal support is warranted. Every case is different, and your divorce attorney will be able to best help you assess your situation. Other factors for consideration may include fault by either party, living situations, and prior standards of living.

Spousal support also varies case-by-case in how it is paid out; it typically will vary between a lump-sum payment and periodic support paid either monthly or annually. Periodic spousal support also has the flexibility of being awarded on a permanent or temporary basis. If support is temporarily awarded, it may only last until one spouse finds a job, gets remarried, or a specific amount of support is paid. As with most issues decided during a divorce, spousal support can also be modified later on as circumstances change.

If you believe spousal support is going to be part of your divorce case and want to learn more about solving it collaboratively or learning what the court may consider, our team can help. Learn more about spousal support here, and request a consultation by calling or emailing us today.