How Spousal Support is Determined in Michigan

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Either party may ask for spousal support in Michigan when filing for a divorce.  Spousal support is a legal term for money that is ordered by the court to be paid by one spouse to another so that they can maintain a similar custom of living after their divorce. There is no law in Michigan guaranteeing spousal support.  The court favors the parties working out spousal support and other marital issues such as child support, visitation, custody and property and debt division.  However, if the parties cannot reach an agreement regarding spousal support in Michigan, the court will set a hearing date to decide the matter.  At the hearing, the court will make a decision on whether or not to award spousal support, how much and for how long, as well as deciding other issues that need to be resolved such as child support or child visitation.  You should speak to a Michigan family attorney to assist you in negotiating spousal support and other divorce matters, especially if you are in a contested divorce.  

Determining Factors in Making Calculations

The court will determine spousal support by looking at the following factors:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Age and health of the parties
  • What each party contributed to the marriage
  • Earning ability of parties
  • Need for support
  • Source of assets and allocation in property division
  • Standards of marital living and prior standard of living of the parties before the marriage
  • Other support responsibilities from prior marriages or for care of other family member
  • Education of each party

Duration of Support

The court can order spousal support for an indefinite period of time, more often it is for a specific period of time. The court wants to allow enough time for the spouse receiving the support to become financially independent. Special circumstances are taken into consideration if the spouse receiving the support is of retirement age, ill or disabled. The spousal support order can also provide that the matter be reviewed, extended or terminated. When the spouse that is receiving the support remarries, the support is usually terminated.  Also, when the spouse that is paying the support dies, the support may be terminated unless provided otherwise by the deceased spouse’s will.

Attorney Assistance

Michigan spousal support and divorce issues are complex, and it is recommended that you obtain the assistance of a Michigan family law attorney to assist you with these matters. The attorney can advise you of your legal rights, file the Complaint of Divorce and other documents on your behalf and represent you in court.

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