At the Law Office of Nathan G. Frazier, we frequently represent clients who need spousal support (once called "alimony"). We understand that a separation often causes financial distress. Allow us to guide you through this process. Call or reserve your consultation today to explore these options.
Alimony & Spousal Support
What is Spousal Support?
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:
- Past relations and conduct of the parties (fault)
- Length of the marriage
- Ability of the parties to work and their respective incomes
- Source and amount of property awarded to the parties
- Ability of the parties to pay spousal support
- Present situation of the parties
- Needs of the parties
- Health of the parties
- Prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others
- Age and educational level of the person claiming spousal support
- 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 a former spouse denies receiving payments.