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How Much Spousal Support Will I Have to Pay in a Divorce?

How much alimony or spousal support should you anticipate having to pay?  In Michigan, there is no set percentage or given amount, but there are software programs that can be used to estimate the amount, given a specific scenario.

Let’s look at the following scenario.  A husband and wife are married for 25 years; the husband earns $80,000 annual gross income (before taxes); and, his wife has never worked.  Wife has taken some college courses and she is 50 years old.  They have two children together, and both are adults, so there is no child support obligation.  They are planning on an equal division of their assets, and there is no significant debt to be concerned with. 

Spousal support is calculated using twelve different factors under Michigan law.  But in this example let’s look at a software program that can estimate spousal support for you given the facts of your case. 

Given this scenario for a divorce, spousal support could be $2,300 per month.  This is calculated using zero for wife’s income and $80,000 annual income for the husband.  This amount is paid from pretax dollars, and is therefore tax deductible to the husband, and wife must claim it as income.  

If we change wife’s income, and use potential income for wife at minimum wage, or a $17,000 annual gross income, then spousal support is $1,700 per month.  How long you would pay this spousal support is debatable, but a rule of thumb is one third of the marriage, so in this case about 8 years. This can vary, and is based on other factors, but this will give you a general idea of how spousal support works. 

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