When a married couple separates, the court awards alimony or the ‘spousal support’ to the dependent spouse. Such a couple could not reach the agreement on their own, and it has nothing to do with the division of marital property. The spousal maintenance is decided on a case-to-case basis.
Many confuse it with child support. Both are different. The child support can be only be used for minor kids while they are in the custodial care of one of the parents.
What is the Spousal Maintenance?
It’s purpose is to ensure that the dependent spouse’s life is not overtly affected by the legal separation in Michigan, and she can continue to enjoy a similar life standard even after getting separated. It is given to the low-wage-earning spouse or who was entirely dependent on the earning spouse. The primary argument favoring alimony is that the non-earning member might have chosen to forego a career to support the family. She may need time to develop the job skills to support himself or herself. It is also done to help the spouse continue the standard of living they had during the marriage despite changes on the monetary front.
How The Amount Of Alimony Is Decided?
When the two spouses are on talking terms, they can negotiate the spousal maintenance on their own. However, it’s usually not the case. If the matter reaches the court, it may decide on the amount considering the various factors and the duration. The Uniform Marriage and Spousal Support Act, in which several states’ spousal support is based, recommends that they could consider the following factors in making the decision.
The age, physical condition, emotional state, and the former spouses’ financial condition is considered—the time needed by the non-earning spouse for education and training to become self-sufficient. The standard of living of the spouse at the time of getting married is also taken into consideration. The financial capability of the one spouse to support the other and also support himself is weighed. Duration of marital relation is also an important factor in making the decision.
Will It Be Paid In Real?
The separating couples don’t have much hope left in the relationship. However, spousal maintenance and child support are still very much needed. At the same time, there are no fixed formulae to estimate spousal maintenance accurately. Whether the agreed amount will be paid as agreed is also a big question. Enforcing spousal maintenance is not as easy as enforcing child support. However, if the court mechanism awards alimony, the recipient could return to court in the contempt proceeding to make the payment. As alimony was awarded as the court order, the available mechanisms to enforce a court order are available to a former spouse who has to pay it.
For How Long Will It Be Paid?
Spousal maintenance is not forever. Even if it is ordered, the duration is kept long enough for the recipient spouse to get trained and become self-dependent. If there is no clear date mentioned in the separation agreement or the divorce order, the payments must continue until the court gives fresh orders. If the recipient decides to get married, the spousal maintenance ends. However, the spousal support continues even if the payer dies. In such cases, the court may order support the continue if the other spouse is unlikely to get suitable employment or due to health or age considerations.
Beyond Spousal Support…
Separate maintenance Michigan is meant to provide the most needed financial support. The recipient should think beyond it and try to become self-dependent instead of seeking any support instead.