If you are getting divorced, you may assume that you will automatically receive or be paying alimony, commonly referred to as spousal support in Michigan.
Alimony is enshrouded in several myths and misconceptions. This article takes a close look at some of the most common fallacies and the actual facts behind each one. When you understand how the rules of alimony do and do not work, you can prepare for the best possible outcome for yourself and your family.
Myth: Alimony is Automatic
While alimony can be part of a divorce process, it is not automatically included. Whether or not it is awarded depends on a variety of factors, and if the judge decides that it is called for, how much you get depends on variables such as income, assets, standard of living, and contributions toward the marriage.
Myth: Only Men Pay Alimony
A surprising number of people assume that only husbands pay alimony, and only wives receive it. At one time that may have been the rule of thumb, but today alimony is based on which spouse is earning more, not their gender.
Myth: You have a Right to Alimony
Alimony is different from child support in that there is no automatic right to receive it. While parents have a moral and legal obligation to support their children, a former spouse is a different story. The court takes several factors into account to determine if you qualify for alimony, and how much you receive (as well as for how long) will depend according to your own situation. Michigan has no formula for calculating alimony amounts.
Myth: Alimony is Forever
Alimony is rarely an indefinite process. While permanent spousal support is sometimes ordered if one spouse is disabled or has devoted themselves to being a homemaker and therefore has no career skills, most alimony orders have a time limit. To decide the duration of alimony, judges consider factors such as the duration of the marriage, each party’s needs and circumstances, and the likelihood of the recipient spouse to become self-supporting.
If you are getting divorced and wondering how the alimony process works in Michigan, contact the Law Office of Melissa M. Pearce today. We will meet with you to discuss your specific situation and give you a reliable idea of what to expect, so that your life after divorce can be reasonably anticipated from a financial perspective.