Every client wonders how they will financially survive during and after a divorce. During the consultation the two questions Schmitt Law, PLLC receives most often are “will I receive spousal support” and “how much will I receive”.
Many factors are considered by the court as relevant in determining whether spousal support should be awarded. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on the amount and length of time spousal support will be paid, the issue must be decided by the judge.
The judge will review the following factors when making their decision:
- 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.
The court will make a decision regarding the award of spousal support based on the above factors. The court may also consider anything else the court deems important and relevant in awarding spousal support. The court may not give the same weight to each factor when making their decision. However, the court must make findings on each relevant factor if one party requests spousal support.
HOW IS SPOUSAL SUPPORT PAID?
Spousal support can be paid monthly, for a specific period of time as agreed upon by the parties or determined by the court. It also can be paid as a sum certain amount to be paid either in a lump sum (one-time payment), or over a period of an agreed time.
CONSIDERING DIVORCE? LEARN YOUR OPTIONS WITH SCHMITT LAW, PLLC. GRAND RAPIDS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
Contemplating a divorce can be one of the hardest decisions to make in life. There are many complexities involving the divorce process, making it overwhelming for most. However, know that you are not alone, and help is available. At Schmitt Law, PLLC we are here to answer your questions, ease your concerns, and protect your rights. To book a consultation, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC online or by calling (616) 608-4634.