Now Accepting New Clients!

Divorce 63: Defendant’s spousal support conditioned upon whether plaintiff engages in contract work.

Plaintiff eventually separated from defendant and filed for divorce. The judgment of divorce stated that a spousal support award was not appropriate unless plaintiff engaged in independent contracting work with the government. The order noted that such work appeared to be unlikely but explained that plaintiff’s acceptance of contracting work would result in enough of a disparity of income between the parties to warrant some adjustment.

Spousal Support

Accordingly, the judgment required that plaintiff account for any contracting work accepted after entry of the divorce on October 10, 2019, until December 31, 2024. The judgment calculated alimony on the following sliding scale. If the Plaintiff never again engages in independent contracting working or does not engage in any independent contracting work until 2025, he will not be required to pay anything as spousal support.

Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by conditioning defendant’s entitlement to spousal support on whether plaintiff chooses to engage in contract work. Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to impute income to plaintiff for purposes of spousal support because he had the ability to earn a substantial amount of money through contract work and had a history of doing so.

Spousal Support Factors

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. Spousal support does not follow a strict formula.

In deciding whether to award spousal support, trial courts should consider the following factors:

(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 of the parties,

(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

Trial Court

The court determined that defendant, if she chose to remain in her current situation, would be able to support herself from revenue obtained by operating the store and renting at least one of her residences.

The trial court acknowledged plaintiff’s earning potential and accordingly ordered that a percentage of any contracting revenue made by plaintiff be paid to defendant for the next several years. Notably, plaintiff testified at trial that the contract jobs were very demanding and that they required him to work long hours away from home for several weeks at a time. As a retiree from the military, he testified that he did not desire to continue to do the amount of work these optional contracts demanded. Therefore, the trial court’s decision not to impute income to the work to render it essentially an obligation, and instead to condition spousal support payments on whether plaintiff chose to accept contract work was not outside the range of reasonable outcomes.

Helping You Make Sense of Support Formulas

If you feel you are paying too much or not receiving enough, our lawyers have successfully helped many clients receive support modifications. We can use our experience and knowledge of family law to help you determine if this is the right choice for you.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000