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the smart law group

spousal support

Spousal Support

Will I get spousal support? Will I have to pay spousal support?

Every case is different and The Smart Law Group has the knowledge and experience to make the best arguments for you and your situation.

Spousal support is also commonly called alimony. Spousal support can be awarded on a temporary basis while the divorce case is pending and it can be awarded when the divorce is completed, either permanently or for a period of years. Sometimes, spousal support can be reserved to be determined at a later date.  In any event, Michigan law allows the court to award spousal support for the suitable maintenance of one of the parties based on various factors.  Unless an agreement is reached between the spouses, the Court will consider the following factors in awarding spousal support:

  1. The past relations and conduct of the parties;
  2. The length of the marriage;
  3. The ability of the parties to work;
  4. The source and amount of property awarded to the parties;
  5. The parties’ ages;
  6. The ability of the parties to pay alimony;
  7. The present situation of the parties;
  8. The needs of the parties;
  9. The health of the parties;
  10. The parties’ support of others;
  11. The prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others;
  12. A party’s fault in causing the divorce;
  13. The effect of cohabitation on a party’s financial status; and
  14. General principles of equity.

There is no mathematical formula for determining the amount or duration for spousal, as exists for child support.  These factors make it even more important to review your case individually to make sure that smart choices are made now to protect your future.

Whether you are receiving or paying spousal support, a common question is whether spousal support can be modified after a divorce is completed.  This all depends on what is stated in the final Judgment of Divorce and, what is in a Judgment of Divorce often depends on whether the spouses consented to the support or the Court made the decision regarding the support.  Unless the spouses agreed to non-modifiable spousal support, spousal support may be increased, decreased or even cancelled.  A modification of spousal support would always require a change in circumstances.  However, even though a support order may be modified by the divorce court, spousal support may never be cancelled in a bankruptcy action.

Spousal support is not taxable for the receiving spouse and is not a tax deduction for the paying spouse for any spousal support orders entered after December 31, 2018, according to the recently revised IRS tax code.  However, this new(er) tax law does not affect support orders ordered before December 31, 2018, unless they are later modified and do not protect the prior tax status.

Another common question regarding spousal support is whether it includes health care and health insurance.  While it often included as part of determining a spousal support award or agreement, there may be reasons to keep them separate and opportunities to reach an mutually beneficial agreement regarding this issue.

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