Michigan law allows for spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony. There is no set formula as to how the amount of support is determined. Each case is decided according to its unique circumstances.
Factors Courts Consider for Alimony/Spousal Support
When one party requests alimony, the court considers many factors before deciding to order support, and if so, how much, and for how long. Those factors include:
- Past relations and conduct of the parties. Although Michigan is a no-fault state, fault may be considered for the purposes of spousal support.
- Length of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the greater the likelihood support will be ordered. A spouse in a short-term marriage, which is not defined in the law, will generally not receive support.
- The ability of each party to work. One party to the divorce who has not worked outside the home for a long period of time may not have the skillset to get a job.
- Source and amount of property awarded to each one. If the person requesting support is walking away with a lot of the assets, like equity in the marital home, an IRA, or retirement pension, the court is less inclined to award support.
- Age of the parties. This affects the ability of a party to find a job.
- The present situation of each party. This includes the earning potential of each party, whether there are minor children who need to be cared for, and other similar factors.
- Health of the parties. Does one spouse need to be cared for and the other one healthy and who has the ability to pay?
- The standard of living while they were married. The court does not want one spouse to be living quite well while the other one lives in poverty. The court will fashion an order to equalize the standard of living of the party’s post-divorce.
- Any other factor the court deems relevant. This is a “catch-all” factor intended to allow the court to consider any factor to help make the decision based on the general principles of equity and fairness.
How Schmitt Law, PLLC, Can Help
Although there is no set formula, at our Schmitt Law office we have a software program where we enter all the objective evidence. It then gives us a ballpark amount of what we should request for spousal support, and for how long the client should receive support. We work with these numbers to try to effectuate a settlement without court intervention.
If no settlement is forthcoming, we then prepare a trial brief that goes through all the factors in detail, so the court can see that our numbers are good ones. We still understand that the judge has full discretion in determining the outcome of spousal support.
For more information and assistance with your divorce issues, contact us at Schmitt Law, PLLC.