Alimony is now referred to as “spousal support” and is an important element in the divorce process. Alimony is an amount of money that a spouse will pay to the other on a monthly basis in order to support them and the amount of the payments are separate from any property settlements. The amount of the alimony payments are determined by a judge and is aimed toward helping both parties maintain the lifestyle that they are accustomed to. There are many factors that a judge will take into consideration when determining who gets the alimony payment and how much.
1. The Length of The Marriage
There is no set rule as to how long a marriage has to last in order to qualify for alimony payments. What is important, however, is when one spouse has relied on the other for support for ten years or longer and has not pursued a career of their own or has limited marketable skills.
2. Imputed Income for Unemployed Parties
Another important factor in determining alimony payments is a spouse’s imputed income which reflects a person’s ability to make payments. If you are currently unemployed or under-employed and it is deemed that you could be making more money if you tried harder, a higher alimony payment could be granted to the non-working spouse or one with a lesser income.
3. The Conduct of the Parties
Even though Michigan is a “no-fault” divorce state, a judge will look at the behavior of the couple to determine who is to get spousal support and how much. If infidelity or drug or alcohol abuse can be proven, the guilty spouse will have their alimony payments reduced accordingly.
Alimony is paid when there are no minor children involved in the divorce. When the couple has minor children, alimony can be augmented by child support. Alimony is separate from the dissolution of the marital assets and from any child custody arrangements.
Alimony payments are not written in stone, neither for the amount or for the duration, and can be changed from time to time if there is a change in one’s circumstances. Alimony payments are usually scheduled to end when the recipient gets remarried, dies or secures employment that allows them to contribute to their own support.
The nature of alimony has evolved over the years. As more women have entered the workplace, they are not automatically the recipient of alimony payments. If the woman was the primary earner in the family, it is acceptable for her to have to pay spousal support payments to her male partner.
From filing for divorce to negotiating child support and custody arrangements, to calculating spousal support payments, our experienced and knowledgeable Michigan divorce attorneys can help.