So you’re getting divorced, will you have to pay spousal support or alimony? First of all, alimony and spousal support, those are the same thing, they are synonyms. Michigan law refers to it as spousal support, people commonly also call it alimony. If you are going through a divorce, you will want to know if you are going to have to pay spousal support, or do you have a claim to request spousal support from your spouse?
The first step in that analysis is going to be giving or receiving spousal support would be, are there children? If you have minor children, that is, children under the age of 18, then the way Michigan law is, child support is required to be calculated first. So to figure that out, you will need to know what the income of you and your spouse is, and also what custody and parenting time look like? That is going to tell you where your child support numbers are at. Once you know your child support number, then you could get into an analysis of spousal support. Or if you you do not have any minor children, then you can skip to the next step and look at a spousal support analysis.
Spousal support is based on twelve different factors under Michigan law, they’re going to be looking at things like past relations and conduct, how long you’ve been married, how much your income is, how much your wife’s income is, and if there’s child support that is also going to be a factor. The health of your wife and really both of you, the age of you both, and that type of health information will all be different factors. Spousal support is not just a straight calculation and not a straight percentage. It’s based on a lot of different factors that we need to look at when we’re getting a sense of how much do you make, how much does your wife make, what the monthly bills are now, and what we’re looking at in terms of monthly expenses once the divorce is final and going from there.
There is software available that is used to calculate spousal support in Michigan. However, the results from this software are only a guide and are not binding on anyone. So if you find that you end up in court over a dispute and want the court to determine your spousal support, the results of that software program are not admissible in evidence. So the amount cannot be used as evidence, but it’s a guide and is a rule of thumb. Another rule of thumb is for the duration of spousal support, or how long will you have to pay. Assuming that you have a case that is appropriate for spousal support, you can expect to have to pay for one third of the marriage. So if you have been married for fifteen years, and your divorce case meets the requirements for you having to pay spousal support, you could expect to pay for about five years.