When a couple divorces in Michigan, spousal support is part of the property division process. Spouses may be surprised to know, however, that there is no formula to determine whether a person will receive spousal support or how much he or she might receive.
The parties can work out spousal support themselves, however if they are unable to do so, one or both of them can ask the court to award spousal support. It may be ordered by the court when one of the spouses has financial difficulties as a result of the divorce or when the property award is not enough for one spouse to support him or herself.
Spousal support considerations
The court can consider many different factors when determining spousal support. It may review the length of the parties’ marriage. In longer marriages, the court may be more likely to award spousal support especially if one spouse does not have job skills.
The court may also look at the age of the parties. If one spouse is retired or living on a limited income, the court may not award spousal support. It may also consider the health of each party in terms of their ability to work and their prior standard of living including how that may change after the divorce.
These are only some of the items the court may review and these factors will be unique to each party.
Permanent and temporary payments
Spousal support may be paid in one lump sum or it may be paid over time, called a periodic payment. Periodic support can be permanent or temporary.
Permanent payments are more likely to be awarded in long-term marriages. Temporary support may be paid for months or years or until a specific event occurs.
An attorney can help divorcing spouses understand spousal support as it applies to their individual circumstances.