Spousal support can be one of the most annoying parts of a divorce for both parties. The payor often doesn’t want to pay spousal support or wants to pay less than expected. The payee often believes they deserve more support than what they are getting. The problem is that, in Macomb County, Michigan, there isn’t one formula to follow when it comes to how spousal support is determined. Each divorce is unique, and so is the alimony.
Establish your own subjective formula.
You know what you brought to the marriage. You know what your spouse brought (or didn’t bring) to the union. You know why you deserve spousal support. A judge doesn’t know any of these things unless you bring them to his or her attention, and that begins by being an open book with your Michigan divorce attorney.
Make it clear what you expect your spousal support to be so your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf. Mediation or productive back-and-forth with your ex’s own divorce lawyer may get you to the number you want, in the manner that you want it, before a fight begins. If you ask for what you want, you may be surprised to realize that you can get it.
If infidelity occurred, make it known.
Your ex may have cheated on you and you may want some serious payback, but Michigan is a no-fault state. So how can the factor that is the main reason for your divorce not play a role?
In Michigan, the courts weigh fidelity, or the lack of fidelity, when determining if spousal support should be awarded. Keep in mind that just because you can prove that your ex cheated does not guarantee that you will be awarded spousal support or receive a larger amount than you would have otherwise received.
Ultimately, as awful as it may feel to air your dirty laundry with your divorce attorney, that’s exactly what you must do so you can have someone on your side when proceeding with the alimony piece of your split.
Make your expectations clear.
Every marriage operates under a certain lifestyle standard. The life you lived as a couple will factor into the kind of spousal support a judge thinks you deserve. Fairness is always at play, but some elements of your marriage will carry a bigger weight while others are less relevant to the case.
Your contributions to the marriage (like child-rearing), your prior standard of living, and your career prospects and earning potential are major considerations when it comes to establishing spousal support. You should not suffer because of your divorce, though shifting finances definitely strain both parties. If you know your ex owes it to you to provide decent spousal support, trust your attorney to work toward a goal on your behalf.
Determine what kind of support you want.
In some divorces, one person is willing to take a lump sum payment in lieu of monthly spousal support. This payment could be in the form of real estate, retirement funds, and other property and assets. Some people prefer to know that their ex is writing that check every month, remembering them and why they got divorced. There are lifetime spousal support deals, short-term spousal support, and periodic payments.
Spousal support is approached on a case-by-case basis, but there is always room for you – and your Michigan divorce attorney – to make your case. Not every divorce is bitter, and for many couples the determination of spousal support is just one more financial decision in the business deal that is their split.
Get the advice and support you need throughout your divorce. Contact Michigan Divorce Help PLLC in Mount Clemens for your initial consultation.