At the end of a marriage when you and your spouse have decided to part ways, you will have to handle a number of complex issues, including with whom your children will live, what will become of your house and your assets, whether or not you will change your name (if you changed it in the first place), and of course, how you will support yourself financially if you are the financially dependent spouse. Because many individuals rely on their spouse for financial support throughout the course of a marriage, knowing what they will do when the marriage is terminated can be scary. For this reason, Michigan allows for the financially dependent spouse to seek spousal support, or alimony, from the financially independent spouse.
Will I Get Spousal Support?
Whether or not a court will grant you and award of spousal support depends on a number of factors. Under Michigan Code Section 552.23(1), a court may award an individual spousal support if it is determined that “the estate and effects awarded to either party are insufficient for the suitable support and maintenance of either party and any children of the marriage…” Essentially, if either party does not have enough money to provide for themselves or their children, the court may order the other party to provide spousal support.
How Much Spousal Support Will I Get?
The law cited above continues to read that a court will decide a spousal support amount based on what is “just and reasonable.” Further, the amount will be decided after the court considers the ability of each party to pay, the situation in general, and any other relevant factors. Some common factors that a court will consider when making a spousal support determination include:
- The length of the marriage. Usually, an individual who has been married longer has a greater chance of receiving a spousal support award than does an individual who has only been married for a short amount of time.
- The earning capabilities of each party. If one spouse has no education or training, they are unlikely to be able to earn an income that allows for a quality of life to which they are accustomed. If one party contributed to the other party’s education or career, such as helping to pay for education or staying home with children so the other could work, this will also be considered.
- The ages and health of each party. The age and the health of both parties to the marriage will be considered; a person who is older has a lesser chance of earning income on their own, and is more likely to need spousal support.
The court will also consider any other factors that it deems relevant, like the income and assets of each party, the standard of living established during the marriage, fault, and more.
A Michigan Family Law Attorney Can Help
At the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins, our experienced spousal support attorney can help you to understand whether or not you are entitled to spousal support, and if so, for how much. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at 248-646-7980.