A divorce settlement can contain many different orders, such as a property division order, a child custody order, and a spousal support order. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is an arrangement in which the higher earning spouse pays the lesser earning spouse a specific amount of money for a specific period of time following their divorce to protect him or her from financial hardship. Usually, spousal support is paid to an individual who sacrificed his or her career or earning capacity to care for the home and children during a marriage. Men and women are equally entitled to receive spousal support.
Every spousal support order is unique. In Michigan, there is no specific formula for determining a spousal support order; the court considers various facts about the couple’s marriage and each party’s personal post-divorce needs to determine an appropriate spousal support amount and order duration.
Although it is uncommon, some individuals receive permanent spousal support. This is typically reserved for those who are retirement age and have few vocational skills. More commonly, courts create temporary spousal support orders that provide enough support for the lesser earning spouse to complete a college degree or vocational program that enables him or her to enter the workforce and become self-supporting. Spousal support can be paid in recurring payments or in one lump sum.
A divorcing couple may designate specific circumstances that terminate spousal support in their divorce order, such as the recipient’s cohabitation or remarriage. Additionally, the paying spouse may seek a modification to his or her spousal support order due to changed circumstances, like job loss or retirement.
There is no one deciding factor for spousal support orders. Rather, every spousal support order is unique, and the court develops them by considering a set of factors about each couple. These factors include:
These final points refer to adultery, despite Michigan being a no-fault state for divorce. This does not mean that an individual who committed adultery cannot receive spousal support after a divorce, but that the court may consider each party’s actions during the marriage when determining an appropriate spousal support order.
If you are planning to file for divorce or if you need to modify or terminate your spousal support order, work with an experienced divorce lawyer. To learn more about these processes and get started on your case, contact our team at The Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.