Spousal Support in Michigan. How can you get it or will you have to pay?

Spousal support in Michigan

Spousal support in Michigan is the same as alimony. It is paid by the primary wage earner to a dependent spouse to financially support a spouse after divorce. The goal of spousal support in Michigan is to balance the financial inequities after divorce.


Spousal support in Michigan is generally paid for a term of years to provide time for the dependent spouse to obtain financial independence.

Michigan spousal support law.

The authority for a court to order spousal support can be found in Michigan Compiled Laws Section 552.23 which provides:

Upon entry of a judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, if the estate and effects awarded to either party are insufficient for the suitable support and maintenance of either party and any children of the marriage who are committed to the care and custody of either party, the court may also award to either party the part of the real and personal estate of either party and spousal support out of the real and personal estate, to be paid to either party in gross or otherwise as the court considers just and reasonable, after considering the ability of either party to pay and the character and situation of the parties, and all the other circumstances of the case.

Michigan Compiled Laws Section 552.23

How long does spousal support last?

Under Michigan law, spousal support is always modifiable. Therefore, a trial court can order spousal support can last forever. However, since the goal is to rehabilitate a dependent spouse, a trial court will typically order that spousal support be paid for a presumptive term of number of years. When the term expires, spousal support will end unless circumstances have changed.

Non-modifiable spousal support

Under Michigan law, a trial court cannot order non-modifiable spousal support. However, parties are free to negotiate a non-modifiable award as to both the amount of spousal support and the duration.

How much is spousal support in Michigan?

Unlike child support, there is not specific formula for spousal support under Michigan law. However, there are resources that lawyers rely upon to determine the amount, including this spousal support calculator which can estimate the award.

Michigan Spousal support factors

In McLain v McLain, the Michigan Court of Appeals set forth eleven factors that should be taken into consideration in determining a spousal support award. The factors are:

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 age of the parties; 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 prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others and 11. General principles of equity.

Of the eleven spousal support factors, the primary considerations are:

  1. The age of the parties;
  2. The income of the parties;
  3. The length of the parties marriage; and
  4. The education of the parties.

In simple terms, the longer the marriage and the greater the income disparity the higher the alimony or spousal support award.

There are many techniques that skilled lawyers can use to maximize or minimize a spousal support award that go beyond the scope of this article. We stand ready to help.

About Findling Law

I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

We want to help you manage your situation. Let our exceptional legal team help you manage your situation.

Local: +1 (248) 399-3300 – toll free:   (877-YOUR FIRM)

After hours emergency?:  +1 (707) 968-7347

Or email me at:  Daniel@Findlinglaw.com

By:  Daniel Findling

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