Understanding and Calculating Alimony in Michigan

Find out how alimony (spousal support) is awarded and calculated in Michigan.

If you are going through a divorce in Michigan, you may ask the court to order your spouse to pay alimony (also called spousal support) if you have financial need. The court may order either spouse to pay alimony depending on the circumstances; courts make these orders on a case-by-case basis. Alimony may be temporary or permanent, and may be awarded only during the divorce proceedings or after the divorce is final.

Factors Considered in Determining Alimony

Michigan courts consider various factors to determine whether to award alimony, and if so, how much. These factors include each spouse's age, needs, health, and ability to work. The court will also look at whether the spouse from whom alimony is requested has the ability to pay. A judge may also consider the length of the marriage, the fault of either spouse in causing the divorce, and each spouse's past conduct.

The amount of alimony depends on both spouse's incomes. The court will try to award an amount sufficient to allow the receiving spouse to maintain a home and a reasonable standard of living. It may also include an award of attorney fees already paid by the receiving spouse.

Alimony is generally not meant to last indefinitely, so the court may set a time limit based on the length of your marriage. Though alimony is usually paid monthly to the receiving spouse, it can also be paid as a lump sum. To calculate the amount, courts use general guidelines based on each spouse's monthly income.

Termination or Modification of Alimony

The obligation to pay alimony ends when either party dies, or when the person receiving alimony remarries. Unless the court orders otherwise, you may request a change to the alimony award if you or your spouse's circumstances change significantly.

Tax Consequences

The spouse who pays alimony may claim the payments as a deduction on federal tax returns. The receiving spouse must claim alimony as income.

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