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5 things to know about spousal support in Michigan

When a pair of spouses decide to divorce rather than stay in an unhappy marriage, they must resolve numerous financial issues to achieve a fair settlement. In many cases, a Michigan family court judge will order one spouse to provide financial assistance to the other. This is known as “spousal support.”

The purpose is to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse, which helps ease the transition back into a single lifestyle, until he or she can be self-sustaining. This is especially helpful in cases where one spouse has been home full-time and out of the workforce for years. For example, if you sacrificed a college education and career to stay home and raise a family, you might not have the financial resources to support yourself or your children in the immediate aftermath of a divorce.

3 basic types of spousal support

If you are requesting spousal support in a divorce, it is a good idea to review the basic types, including temporary, rehabilitative and permanent support. Many people refer to spousal support as “alimony.” The following list provides a basic overview of factors the court takes into consideration when determining whether a judge will order spousal support in a divorce:

  • Is one spouse unable to support himself or herself?
  • Does a spouse need time to go back to school or find employment to become self-sustaining?
  • Is a health condition, age or a disability impeding a spouse’s ability to secure gainful employment?
  • Would temporary, periodic, permanent or lump-sum support be best?

In addition to these issues, the court will also consider whether children are involved, the ages and health (both mental and physical) of both parents, how long the marriage lasted and more when making decisions about spousal support.

You have a right to a fair settlement

Whether you are the spouse who is requesting spousal support in a Michigan divorce, or the spouse being ordered to pay it, you are entitled to a fair deal. If you believe you are not getting one, you can appeal the court’s decision.

If you have children, the court has their best interests in mind when making decisions regarding custody or finances, including child support or alimony. It is helpful to think ahead before proceedings begin so that you can set goals and have a clear understanding of your financial needs. If you do not feel equipped to handle a particular issue on your own, it is always best to reach out for additional support to help make sure you receive a fair settlement.