Spousal Support in Michigan

Michigan, divorce, spousal support, Kalamazoo divorce attorney
10/3/2018

There are a number of components to the economic picture in divorce, and spousal support must be considered as a part of that economic picture. There are two common misconceptions about spousal support, alimony, in Michigan: either that spousal support is no longer awarded, or that it is always awarded when one party makes more money than the other. The reality is somewhere in-between. The courts in Michigan will make a spousal support determination based on the application of 11 factors, and each case depends its individual circumstances.

Caselaw has established the following 11 factors that a court will apply when spousal support is a contested issue in divorce:

  1. Parties’ past relations and conduct (fault)
  2. Length of the marriage
  3. Parties’ ability to work
  4. Source and amount of property awarded to the parties
  5. Parties’ ages
  6. Ability to pay spousal support
  7. Parties’ present situation
  8. Parties’ needs
  9. Parties’ health
  10. Prior standard of living of the parties and whether the parties support others
  11. General principles of equity

The trial court must consider all relevant factors and make findings as to each when spousal support is contested in a divorce. There is also an underlying standard of what is just and reasonable under the circumstances of each case.

The parties to a divorce can always reach an agreement on spousal support instead of leaving the decision making to the court. While a trial court will analyze the circumstances of each case, there are advantages to negotiating an agreement instead of surrendering to the trial court’s discretion. While Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, it is worth noting that fault is a factor to be considered when making a determination as to spousal support.

Tags: alimony, divorce, Kalamazoo divorce attorney, spousal support