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What factors will determine whether I will collect alimony?

Spousal support, or alimony, can be a contentious matter in Michigan divorces. Often, one person feels entitled to this financial support and the other person has every intention of avoiding this responsibility, which makes it exceedingly difficult to reach agreements.

So, how do you (or the courts) make a decision on spousal support? Many factors will affect whether the someone pays or receives alimony in Michigan.

Factors divorcing parties should consider

If you or your soon-to-be ex wishes to receive alimony, you may be able to resolve the matter yourselves by considering a few important factors. 

  • Do you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement? If so, you might have already come to an agreement on alimony if that agreement is valid and enforceable.
  • Is there a need for support? The receiving party could make a case that he or she gave up their earning potential for the benefit of the family or the other spouse, or that without support, they would be unable to provide for themselves.
  • Is it reasonable for the other person to pay? Think about how alimony would affect the payer. Consider the person's current income, the tax implications as well as whether he or she is also paying child support.

Factors considered by the court

When spouses cannot reach an agreement themselves, the matter will go in front of a judge for resolution. The courts will assess numerous factors, including:

  • How long you were married
  • Each party's income
  • Each party's age and health
  • The property division agreement
  • Marital conduct and contributions

These and other factors will help the courts determine whether to award alimony as well as the amount and duration of the payments.

As you can see, simply wanting alimony or not wanting to pay alimony will not be enough to determine spousal support in any case. Parties must take into account numerous factors before deciding whether to award someone alimony.

Considering the subjective nature of these matters as well as the financial impact they will have, it can be prudent to have legal guidance to help you pursue a fair outcome.

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600 South Adams Road Suite 100
Birmingham, MI 48009

Phone: 248-358-8880
Birmingham Family Law Office

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