Should You Pay Alimony in Divorce - LakeshoreLawandMediation
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Should I Pay Alimony?

Alimony or spousal support is a common issue in Michigan divorce law. It is important that you discuss your unique situation with an experienced family law attorney to analyze your alimony questions.

Michigan courts look at the following factors when it determines whether or not alimony/spousal support is appropriate in your case. Those factors are:

  • Past relations and conduct of the parties
  • Length of the marriage
  • Earning abilities of the parties
  • Age of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Needs of the parties (looking at projected budgets)
  • Ability of the parties to pay spousal support (looking at projected budgets)
  • Support of other persons
  • Property settlement (especially income producing property, a party is not expected to dissipate the property settlement to satisfy their reasonable cash flow needs)
  • Prior standard of living
  • Present situation of the parties
  • General principles of equity


As you might imagine, all of these factors generate negotiation and creative arguments for and against spousal support claims.

Although there are always exceptions to the general rule, the greater the length of the marriage, the greater the disparity (difference) in the earning of the husband and wife, the higher the probability that spousal support will be ordered to be paid in a case.

Let me give you a few examples:

Case # 1:

Donald and Daisy have been married for 25 years. Donald earns $100,000.00 a year whereas Daisy just started working part time at a flower shop earning minimum wage. They have accumulated a nice nest egg and own their home free and clear. Donald has been working very hard all of these years and has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure which is controlled by medication. It looks like he won’t have to cut back at work for now, but he is worried about his health. They have one child at home who has not yet graduated from high school. Daisy has filed for divorce and says that she just doesn’t love Donald anymore.

In this case it is likely that some amount of spousal support will be ordered. The question is how much and for how long? An experienced divorce attorney will evaluate the totality of the circumstances and discuss your unique situation with you. Your divorce attorney will also make you aware of facts that would weigh in favor of your soon to be ex spouse. Your divorce attorney will listen to you, advise you, and make arguments on YOUR behalf. The goal is to advocate for the best possible outcome.

Case # 2:

Lucy and Desi have been married for five years. Lucy earns $200,000.00 a year and Desi has been a stay at home dad. The have three small children. Lucy moved out of the house and in with her new boyfriend. They still have quite a bit in student loans and have some equity in the house and both have small retirement plans.

In this case it is likely that some short term spousal support will be ordered. Again, the question is how much and for how long? You need an experienced attorney to answer your questions, advocate for you and help you move on with your life.

Case # 3:

Brad and Angelina have been married for three years. They are tired of fighting all the time. They both earn around $50,000.00 per year and have no debt. They have no minor children and are currently renting an apartment.

In this case it would be difficult to make an argument that spousal support should be ordered.

I have attached some links for your review:

Michigan Alimony (Spousal Support) FAQs – DivorceNet
www.divorcenet.com/states/michigan/michigan_alimony_factors
The courts consider a number of factors in deciding whether to award spousal support, and must make findings on each factor that is relevant. These factors …

http://www.mediate.com/mediator/attachments/28913/Spousal_Support.pdf

Have a legal question?  The professional staff of family law attorneys at the Lakeshore Law and Mediation Center would be happy to assist you.  Contact us today by phone at 616.844.4091 or by email using the contact form below.

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