When a divorce leaves either spouse with insufficient means to support themselves, Michigan law states that spousal support, or alimony, may be awarded. It may be requested by either divorcing spouse to balance the income and needs of a spouse who was financially dependent on the other.
Alimony can be paid both during and after a divorce is complete, but what happens if the financial situation changes. What if the spouse receiving alimony gets remarried?
Alimony Basics in Michigan
The amount awarded as alimony is very much at the discretion of the individual judge presiding over the case. If a spouse requests spousal support, the judge will take several factors into consideration, including:
● How long the couple was married;
● The current and future potential earnings of each party;
● The standard of living during the marriage;
● Age and health of both parties;
● Marital fault, if any, of both spouses;
● Ability for self-sufficiency of the alimony-seeking spouse;
● The ability of the paying spouse to give financial support; and
● Any other factors that may be relevant.
Depending on the specifics of the case, an award sum and term of payments need to be decided upon. Typically, alimony is paid on a monthly basis, and terminates on death and remarriage.
Remarriage and Alimony
After the divorce decree has been entered, either spouse has the ability to request modifications in the alimony. Before any changes are enacted, however, proof of changed circumstances must be submitted to the court.
If an individual receiving alimony remarries and the financial situation changes, then the spouse paying alimony may be able to modify or terminate payments if an automatic termination on remarriage was not agreed upon. In other words, remarriage in Michigan does not necessarily mean that alimony must be stopped unless that is what the parties agreed to. However, when resolved in trial, spousal support payments are always modifiable in Michigan. However, when settled out of court, many divorcing couples may provide that spousal support terminates on remarriage or may even opt for non-modifiable alimony payments. Non-modifiable spousal support cannot be changed, regardless of changes in financial situations. Other circumstances that may prevent termination of alimony include instances such as ‘rehabilitative’ alimony, where a spouse may justifiably continue receiving payments even after remarriage.
When alimony is modifiable and does not terminate upon remarriage, typically in a remarriage where the financial circumstances of the spouse are improved, the judge would rule to terminate alimony payments. In contrast, if the spouse paying alimony remarries and their ability to continue supporting their former spouse becomes more difficult, a judge may not necessarily reduce the payments.
Consult With a Michigan Divorce Attorney
Since alimony is largely a case by case issue, speaking with an attorney can be extremely helpful. If you are paying alimony and your former spouse is getting remarried or you are receiving alimony and getting remarried, you should consider discussing the specifics of your case with an experienced divorce attorney. Call 248-646-7980 or contact The Law Office of Michael A. Robbins online to get help. Mr. Robbins is one of the foremost family lawyers in Michigan and has years of experience with all legal matters relating to divorce and alimony. If you are in the Tri-County area of Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties or in greater Michigan, we are here to help you.