Spousal Support


Rochester Michigan Family Law Lawyer Elizabeth Sadowski

Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is money paid by party in a divorce to the other for his or her support and maintenance. The court may consider the following factors in awarding spousal support in Michigan:

1) Past relations and conduct of the parties (fault)

2) Length of the marriage

3) Ability of the parties to work and their respective incomes

4) Source and amount of property awarded to the parties

5) Ability of the parties to pay spousal support

6) Present situation of the parties

7) Needs of the parties

8) Health of the parties

9) Prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others

10) Age and educational level of the person claiming spousal support

11) Cohabitation with another and the effect on expenses / need

In cases where spousal support is not awarded in Michigan, the judgment must either expressly reserve the question of spousal support or rule that neither party is entitled to spousal support.

Modifications to Spousal Support in Michigan

Provisions awarding spousal support, sometimes called regular alimony or periodic alimony, in a judgment of divorce are modifiable at any time based upon proof of a change in circumstances. Spousal support may be increased, decreased, or canceled. Sometimes limitations are placed in the judgment prohibiting modification, but there is no guarantee that these limitations will be honored by the court. Spousal support is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. It may or may not terminate on the death of the payor, depending upon the terms of the judgment.

Enforcement of Spousal Support in Michigan

Usually a motion is filed asking the court to order the payor show cause why he or she should not be held in contempt of court for failing to pay spousal support. Your lawyer can explain this procedure if necessary.

Taxation of Spousal Support

Regular or periodic spousal support is normally taxable to the recipient and is deductible by the payer. In order for alimony to be considered as taxable spousal support, the spousal support clause must state that it is payable "until death" of the recipient . Sometimes alimony is further limited in a judgment by adding such clauses as "payable until remarriage."

Spousal support may be paid through the office of the Friend of the Court, however, relatively new "opt-out" procedures can also be used. Using the office of the Friend of the Court enables a party to obtain an accurate record of these payments. In addition, if there is a problem with enforcement, a party who has not opted out may get assistance from the Friend of the Court if the payments are not made or if aformer spouse denies receiving payments.

Securing an Award of Spousal Support by Life Insurance

It may be important, particularly where long-term marriages are destroyed by divorce, to secure the spousal support award with life insurance. This is particularly true when the payor spouse retains substantial freedom to deplete any "estate" that would remain liable for spousal support after his or her death and the spousal support is payable for the lifetime of the recipient.

To schedule an initial meeting with family lawyer Elizabeth Sadowski or just ask a question, call or send an e-mail today. You will find fact-gathering questionnaires on this website. Fill them out and mail them in to Ms. Sadowski's office or schedule an appointment and bring them with you.

Contact Rochester, Michigan divorce lawyer, Elizabeth Sadowski at (248) 652-4000  Email:  elizabeth.sadowski [at] gmail.com

Family lawyer Elizabeth Sadowski serves clients throughout northern Oakland and Macomb Counties . © 2009 Elizabeth Sadowski

►  No fee referrals within Michigan and/or to other states’ attorneys

►  No initial consultation fee unless retained

This website is intended to provide only a brief overview of family law in Michigan. If you have any questions regarding your family law matter, contact me today. I will discuss your legal needs and provide you with information to protect you and your family for years to come.

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Elizabeth A. Sadowski, Family Lawyer
Colbert Shepard & Sadowski LLP
431 6th Street, Rochester, MI  48307
• E-mail: elizabeth.sadowski [at] gmail.com
Telephone: (248) 652-4000  Telefax:  (248) 652-1259

Practice Areas: Divorce  Custody  Parenting Time  Child Support Post-Judgment Modifications  Paternity  Adoption  Personal Protection Orders  Spousal Support  Property Distribution  Pre-Nuptial / Post-Nuptial Agreements Estate Planning Guardianships/Conservatorships  Neglect/Abuse Cases 

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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