Alimony, or spousal support as it is also referred to, is a regular payment made by an ex spouse to his or her partner after a divorce. The amount of alimony is normally determined by a judge who has to consider a number of factors before deciding on the exact amount. Even when alimony payments have been made on a regular basis for some time, there may be a point when they are modified or discontinued altogether.
A request for alimony is normally made by a spouse going through a divorce who up to then has been supported financially by the other spouse or who may be the most financially disadvantaged after the divorce.
Alimony in Michigan is not given solely to one gender or the other. If the male partner is the one who is financially disadvantaged after divorce, then it is just as likely that he will be granted spousal support as if he was the female spouse instead.
Alimony is not a guaranteed payment
Just because two married people separate after a divorce, it doesn’t inevitably mean that one or the other is definitely going to receive spousal support, even if there is a requirement to provide child support. The following circumstances may make alimony less likely.
- If the marriage was only of short duration.
- If both partners were working at the time of the divorce and both are still capable of working.
- There are no children to support.
- The spouse who is requesting alimony is already cohabiting with another partner.
- Both spouses are in good health at the time of the divorce.
- The shared assets and / or property at the time of the divorce can be divided up more or less equally, or at least adequately.
- One of the two spouses requesting alimony contributed to the reason for the divorce because of marital infidelity or misconduct.
A judge who is tasked with making a decision about granting alimony after a divorce has to weigh up all the factors listed above and makes a decision which will be unique to the situation that the two separating spouses found themselves in.
It must be pointed out at this stage that there is no requirement for a judge to determine the amount of alimony if there are other ways of deciding on support after a divorce. The separating couple may come to an amicable agreement without requesting help from a court, or the amount of support may have already been determined by a prior prenuptial agreement. If you are going through a divorce and believe that you and your spouse can work a financial arrangement out between you, it is still advisable to put the arrangement down in writing. A Michigan family law attorney can help you draw up a satisfactory agreement.
Alimony may not last
Any of the circumstances listed above could change over time and whoever is paying spousal support may request a modification in the amount of payment. Again, you could do this amicably with the ex partner with the help of an attorney, or ask the court to make a decision.
The most common reasons for reducing or canceling spousal support are when the person who has been receiving payments:
- remarries or lives with someone else who can provide for both financially;
- is able to earn enough money to be able to support him / her adequately;
or when the person was been paying loses their job, retires, or is no longer able to support both people adequately because of a change in circumstances.
Divorce can be a stressful and emotionally distressing experience. Financial disagreements and worry about being able to live a normal life after the divorce are often the next most difficult aspects after disagreements about child custody. You are strongly advised to discuss your divorce and financial decisions with an experienced Michigan family law attorney during and after the lead up to the divorce in order to be able to make sensible and fair decisions about your future after separation.