Alimony guidelines in Michigan
The purpose of alimony under Michigan divorce law is to provide financial support to a former spouse after divorce. Traditionally, alimony was paid by a husband to a wife however it is now not uncommon for a wife to pay her husband alimony. While some divorce attorneys and divorce client’s argue the Alimony and Spousal support laws should be changed, (See: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/basics/story/2012-01-05/alimony-law-reform/52642100/1)
Alimony or spousal support remains an integral part of Michigan divorce law and your Michigan divorce attorney should consider alimony or spousal support exposure in every case. At trial, the Michigan Divorce court must evaluate 11 factors.
However, when considering settlement, Michigan divorce lawyers and mediators utilize alimony guidelines.
Michigan Alimony guideline caselaw
The Michigan Court of Appeals in the case of Myland vs.Myland stated that Michigan law prohibits alimony guidelines because the use of a rigid and arbitrary formula fails to account for the parties unique circumstances. Notwithstanding the Myland case, other court of Appeals cases have held otherwise and alimony guidelines are commonly used in evaluating an alimony award under Michigan divorce law and most courts, mediators and attorneys use alimony guidelines in evaluating a spousal support claim. However, other Court of Appeals cases allow courts to consider guidelines so the jury is still out.
There are two leading guideline computer programs, one by Springfield publications called Prognosticater and another by MarginSoft, written by former Washtenaw County referee, Craig Ross. These Michigan divorce alimony guideline formulas vary, however the primary considerations of both formulas involve the age, education, the length of marriage and income of the parties.
Some Judges have their own guidelines in determining alimony in Michigan. For example one judge uses the following formula: Alimony in his Michigan divorce court is awarded for a term of 1/3 of the length of the marriage and in an amount equal to 1/3 the difference of the parties’ incomes, while another judge suggests equalizing the parties’ incomes in long term Michigan marriages.
The term of alimony generally increases with the age of the parties and the longer the marriage. The differential of the parties’ income and education plays an important role in the amount of alimony or spousal support in Michigan.
Your Michigan divorce attorney should be familiar with alimony guidelines in Michigan and also with local guidelines. We are and we can help.
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By: Daniel Findling