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Factors the Court Considers in Making Determinations Regarding Spousal Support


Michigan law provides a statutory basis for spousal support when the assets awarded to either party are not sufficient to support them. There are eleven factors taken into consideration when determining if spousal support should be awarded.


These factors are as follows:

THE PAST RELATIONS AND CONDUCT OF THE PARTIES:
It is important to note that the fault of a party or basis for the breakdown of the marriage is a relevant factor in awarding spousal support, even though Michigan is a no-fault state.

THE LENGTH OF THE MARRIAGE:
The longer you have been married, the more likely the court is to award spousal support.

THE ABILITY OF THE PARTIES TO WORK:
The court is more likely to award spousal support to a party who can't work, or is unlikely to find work. Spousal support may be short term to give the person time to finish school or gain job skills.

THE SOURCE OF AND AMOUNT OF PROPERTY AWARDED TO THE PARTIES:
When deciding whether one party needs spousal support, courts consider the type and amount of property each party is getting in the divorce.

THE AGE OF THE PARTIES:
An older person who has not worked during the marriage is more likely to need spousal support. But, if the other spouse is retired and living on a fixed income, that will weigh against awarding spousal support.

THE ABILITY OF THE PARTIES TO PAY ALIMONY:
The court will balance how much the paying spouse can earn with the other spouse's ability to support her or himself.

THE PRESENT SITUATION OF THE PARTIES:
The court will consider facts such as your earning potential, career prospects, and issues involving your children.

THE NEEDS OF THE PARTIES:
The court will consider the current and future needs of the spouse who may receive spousal support compared to their age, health, and ability to work.

THE HEALTH OF THE PARTIES:
A spouses' health is relevant if it affects his or her ability to work and meet their personal needs.

THE PRIOR STANDARD OF LIVING OF THE PARTIES AND WHETHER EITHER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SUPPORT OF OTHERS:
Your standard of living during your marriage is a starting point for deciding whether spousal support should be awarded to either spouse. If divorce means one spouse will stay at the marital standard of living and the other will not, the court may use spousal support to equalize things between the parties.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EQUITY (FAIRNESS):
The court may consider any other factor they deem necessary in your specific situation. NOTE: The court will make a decision about spousal support based on these factors, and anything else the court deems important. The court may not give the same weight to each factor when making their decision, but must make findings on each relevant factor if one party requests spousal support.