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DIVORCE 19: Factors for deciding whether to award spousal support.

The Michigan statute governing spousal support favors a case-by-case approach to determining spousal support.

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. [MCL 552.23(1).]

The object in awarding spousal support is to balance the incomes and needs of the parties so that neither will be impoverished; spousal support is to be based on what is just and reasonable under the circumstances of the case.

A trial court should take into account the following factors when deciding whether to award spousal support:

(1) the past relations and conduct of the parties,

(2) the length of the marriage,

(3) the abilities of the parties to work,

(4) the source and amount of property awarded to the parties,

(5) the parties’ ages,

(6) the abilities of the parties to pay alimony,

(7) the present situation of the parties,

(8) the needs of the parties,

(9) the parties’ health,

(10) the prior standard of living and whether either is responsible for the support of others,

(11) contributions of the parties to the joint estate,

(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.

Were you just served with divorce papers? Do you believe that divorce is the only option left for your marriage?

In order to protect your parental and financial rights, it is important to have an experienced and understanding divorce attorney by your side at every step of the way. At the Plymouth and Ann Arbor law firm of Aldrich Legal Services, our attorneys have the skill and experience you need to address all family law issues that may arise during your divorce.

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