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What determines spousal support in Michigan?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2021 | Divorce |

When divorcing in Michigan, one factor to consider is spousal support. While the state has no clear calculation method, a judge may consider some basic elements.

There are two main factors a judge will examine to help decide whether or not alimony is applicable. Find out more about these and other determinations the court may use.

How long did the marriage last?

One of the main points a court uses to consider before awarding alimony is how long the marriage lasted. Shorter duration marriages may not yield a spousal support order. The benchmark by which most judges go by is 10 years. In some cases, a judge may also consider the time before marriage in the calculation if it is significant. This does not mean a spouse in a shorter marriage will not receive support. Other factors may come into play that warrant an alimony order.

What is the income disparity between the spouses?

Another significant factor in alimony calculation is how much income each spouse generates. One situation that often warrants spousal support is when a spouse has sacrificed a career to raise children. In this instance, the stay-at-home spouse has no income. Even in shorter marriages, a judge may order alimony to help a non-working spouse until he or she finds gainful employment. In longer marriages, the age of the spouses factors into alimony determinations, especially if one has remained out of the workforce for much of the marriage.

Spousal support may become a contentious part of a divorce if the parties do not prepare themselves for it. Even though there is no set law, having a basic concept of what a judge may use to rule on it helps.