A divorce can affect several aspects of life, including your children, finances, and assets. To limit any unfair economic effects of the marital dissolution, the Michigan court may order one of the couples to provide financial assistance to their estranged spouse for a period during or after the divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce and want to understand how spousal support works, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Michigan family law attorney for detailed guidance.

At Bowden Law, PLLC, I have devoted my career to offering outstanding legal services and guiding individuals and families in family law-related matters. I can work to understand your unique situation, determine your eligibility for spousal support, and explore the various alimony options available to you. Also, I have the experienced legal guidance and advocacy you need to navigate key decisions when establishing or modifying alimony arrangements.

My firm, Bowden Law, PLLC, proudly serves clients across Mount Clemens and surrounding areas of Michigan, including Macomb County and Sterling Heights.

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Overview of Alimony in Michigan

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered financial payment from the higher-earning spouse to the non- or lower-earning spouse for a period during the divorce process or after the divorce has been finalized. The purpose of alimony is to:

  • Mitigate any unfair economic impact of the divorce or legal separation, and

  • Provide a continuing income to the lower- or non-earning spouse.

In Michigan, the spouse who makes the alimony payments is known as the "paying spouse," while the spouse who receives the support payment is a "supported spouse." A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you understand the various types of alimony in The Great Lakes State and determine whether you qualify.

Types of Alimony

Four different types of spousal support may be awarded in a Michigan divorce – temporary, periodic, permanent, and lump-sum alimony.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is available for spouses who cannot cater to their financial needs during the divorce proceedings. The court may order the spouse who has always paid utility bills, mortgage, and car payments to continue paying them. Temporary alimony will stop once the divorce is final.

Periodic Alimony

This is the most common type of alimony in Michigan. The court may award periodic alimony for a short term or long term until the recipient spouse completes their education, learns a skill, or gets a job to become self-supporting.

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony may be awarded in exceptional cases where the couples have been married for a long time, and the potential supported spouse is unable to become financially independent or self-supporting as a result of their health condition, disability, or advanced age.

Lump-Sum Alimony

Lump-sum support may be awarded in divorce cases where the paying spouse can pay the entire alimony award in a single payment. Rather than making monetary payments, lump-sum support may be personal or real property. Once paid, there will be no obligation to make monthly, annual, or other periodic payments to your estranged spouse.

A skilled spousal support lawyer can review your unique situation and determine your eligibility to receive or pay spousal support.

Who Is Entitled To Spousal Support?

In Michigan, spousal support isn't awarded based on gender. The court may award alimony if it believes that:

  • One spouse needs financial support or assistance, and

  • The other spouse has the resources and ability to pay

A knowledgeable family law attorney can evaluate whether you qualify for alimony and explain the type, amount, and duration of spousal support.

Determination of Type, Amount,
and Duration of Alimony

To determine the type, amount, and duration of alimony, the court will consider the following factors:

  • Each spouse's ability to work

  • The parties' past relations and conduct

  • Each spouse's age and health condition

  • The source and amount of property awarded to either spouse in the divorce

  • Each party's needs and financial situation

  • The standard of living established by the couples during the marriage

  • The contribution of each spouse to the marital estate

  • Whether a spouse's conduct led to the divorce

  • How cohabitation affects the financial status of either spouse

  • Any other general principles of equity.

An experienced spousal support attorney can evaluate your unique circumstances and walk you through the process of establishing or adjusting spousal support agreements.

Changes to Current Alimony Agreements

Spousal support arrangements are not guaranteed. To modify alimony agreements, the requesting party must show that there has been "a material change in circumstance" since the existing order. Such changes in circumstances may include:

  • A change in need of either spouse.

  • Remarriage or cohabitation with a new partner

  • A difference in the paying spouse's ability to pay.

  • Fraud and unilateral mistake

  • Significant decrease in the paying spouse's income

Furthermore, the obligation to pay spousal support ends when either party dies or as agreed in the divorce settlement. An experienced alimony attorney can fight diligently to protect your legal rights and help you navigate crucial decisions.

Work With a Knowledgeable
Family Law Attorney

Filing for divorce in Michigan usually involves several complexities. Establishing a fair divorce settlement and spousal support arrangement with your estranged partner can make the entire process even more challenging. Therefore, when contemplating a divorce, you need to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney for detailed guidance to help you navigate crucial decisions.

At Bowden Law, PLLC, I am committed to guiding clients through complex family law matters, including divorce and spousal support. Whether you want to establish an alimony agreement or modify an existing spousal support order, I can help guide you through every phase of the legal process and help you make intelligent decisions.

Spousal Support Attorney in Mount Clemens, MI

If you are thinking about filing for divorce and want to understand your rights regarding spousal support, contact my firm, Bowden Law, PLLC, today to schedule a simple consultation. I have the brilliant advocacy, assistance, and detailed legal counsel you need to navigate vital divorce matters. My firm is proud to serve clients throughout Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.