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How do courts make alimony determinations?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | alimony |

When a couple gets divorced, they will have to adjust to being able to support themselves physically, emotionally, and financially, without their spouse’s involvement. Under Michigan law, the court may determine that one spouse requires alimony to help support them financially after the divorce. Generally, alimony may be awarded to a stay-at-home spouse who has been out of the workforce for an extended period or a lesser-earning spouse who is likely unable to maintain the marital standard of living as a single person.

Factors used to determine alimony

While Michigan alimony statutes do not provide a set formula for courts to use to determine alimony payments, there are some factors that courts almost always consider when making these determinations. These factors include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Custodial status (whether one parent has custody of the children)
  • Each spouse’s age, health, ability to work, income, financial status, and needs.
  • Past conduct
  • Property awarded in the divorce

Duration of alimony payments

If a court decides to award alimony based on the above factors, it will need to determine the amount owed and the duration of the payments. In most cases, courts will award alimony on a temporary, short-term, or permanent/long-term basis.

  • Temporary – Alimony paid to support the receiving spouse while the divorce is pending.
  • Short-term – Alimony paid until the receiving spouse has time to further their education, get additional job training, or find gainful employment.
  • Permanent/long-term – Alimony paid when the receiving spouse is unable to support themselves due to age or health conditions.

If one spouse earned more than the other in your marriage, alimony may be an issue in your divorce. A family lawyer can help you decide your best course of action as you move forward with the process.