Whether you were married for less than five years or more than 20, if you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways in life, you may have a right to alimony. Since this is an issue governed at the state level, it is important to make sure you understand Michigan laws before heading to court. There are numerous reasons why a family court judge might order your ex to pay spousal support after you finalize your divorce.
Spousal support is especially relevant if you have been fully dependent on your spouse for financial care during marriage. Perhaps you’re one of many Michigan parents who sacrificed a career or a college education to stay home full-time with your children. Depending on the ages and needs of those children, they might still need you to be home following your divorce, which means you would still need financial provision from your ex.
Typical spousal support issues the court considers in a divorce
In addition to being a full-time stay-at-home parent, the following list shows additional issues that may influence the court’s decision as to whether spousal support should be part of your divorce decree:
- You must obtain training or education for employment.
- You’re unemployed and looking for work.
- You are not able to sustain a lifestyle on your own similar to the one you were accustomed to during marriage.
- You were married longer than 10 years and were financially dependent on your spouse for most or all that time.
The family justice system is set up to allow a judge overseeing divorce to make decisions regarding property division, child custody or spousal support at his or her own discretion after considering the merits of a case and reviewing state guidelines.
How long will spousal support last?
The judge presiding over your divorce can order spousal support for any given length of time. Many judges follow a format that awards one year of financial supplement for every three years of marriage. In other words, if you were married to your spouse for 15 years, that would equate to 5 years of spousal support, although judges do not have to follow this rule of thumb.
The bottom line is that you should never hesitate to request spousal support if you need it to help make ends meet as you plan and take your first steps as a single parent following a divorce. It is helpful to review state guidelines and to seek guidance from someone who can help you negotiate a fair agreement.