734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

The object in awarding spousal support is to balance the incomes and needs of the parties.

Plaintiff filed for divorce, after a marriage of almost 33 years. Defendant was employed as a gas mechanic. Plaintiff previously worked part time for school districts for approximately 11 years, cut hair for several years, and worked as a nurse's assistant. However, plaintiff stopped working because of health issues, principally back problems that required two surgeries and an implant in her back. Plaintiff was approved for Social Security disability benefits.

The trial court awarded plaintiff $2,000 a month in spousal support, to continue until defendant reaches age 65, or until plaintiff's death, remarriage, or cohabitation, whichever occurs first. The trial court awarded defendant the marital home, which it valued at $105,000, but required defendant to pay plaintiff 50% of the equity value of the home ($37,500).

Defendant appealed and plaintiff filed a cross-appeal. Defendant argued that the trial court erred in refusing to impute income to plaintiff in determining support. Plaintiff claimed that the trial court erred in not making the support award permanent.

The object in awarding spousal support is to balance the incomes and needs of the parties so that neither will be impoverished, and spousal support is to be based on what is just and reasonable under the circumstances of the case. Whether to award spousal support is in the trial court's discretion.

The record supported the plaintiff's limited ability to work and to find employment. The evidence showed that she had health problems. The Social Security Administration determined that she was disabled, and she was receiving Social Security disability benefits. Also, she was over 50 years old, only had a high school diploma and had been out of the workforce for a number of years, and has minimal marketable skills.

The award was based on his current income level, which included compensation for overtime. The evidence showed that defendant had regularly worked overtime for the past several years, during which time defendant's total income had risen and given the nature of defendant's job, his continued ability to work overtime was not likely to be affected by his age.

The trial court also discussed at length the temporary nature of the spousal support award as well as facts relating to defendant's pension. Plaintiff would be able to choose when to begin taking her share of defendant's pension. The trial court also recognized that the parties' circumstances were likely to change, depending on when defendant retires and when the parties began to draw benefits. Both parties are free to ask for modification of the spousal support upon new facts or changed circumstances, even after defendant turns 65.

In sum, the court held that the trial court's spousal support award to the plaintiff-wife was based on appropriate considerations, its factual findings were not clearly erroneous, and it did not err in refusing to make the support permanent.

If you are served with divorce papers, contact an experienced divorce attorney right away. It is important that you find an attorney who has the skills and experience you need to address all issues that may arise during your divorce, including property division, child custody and parenting time, child and spousal support.

Choosing the right executor for an estate

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 important issue that people need to think...

Is an IRA marital property subject to division?

Plaintiff, age 67 at the time of divorce, and defendant, age 59 at the time of divorce, were married for 23 years. The judgment of divorce provides for a division of property. Defendant appeals arguing that the trial court erred in determining the...

Digital assets and estate planning

Since the first smartphones were introduced nearly a decade ago, there has been a gradual shift from widespread use of traditional paper documents to digital documents. If you need proof, consider that most people have plane tickets on their phones,...

Child Support Modification

Plaintiff sought an increase in child support, claiming the defendant-father's income had increased substantially, which constituted a change in circumstances. In July 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to modify child support. In that motion,...

A divorce shouldn't thwart your estate planning goals

We all know that divorce is not easy, no matter how ready you may be to get out of a troubled marriage. There are certainly emotional hurdles to overcome as you move on with life, and the financial hurdles may take longer to get over than you may...

Creditor's Rights Against Estates and Trusts

The probate court denied a petition for formal proceedings. The petition further identifies the petitioner as a "creditor" of the estate and states that "Litigation against the Estate is pending." Appellee is the widow and was...

What to know about will contests

You create an estate plan to make sure your heirs and beneficiaries are taken care of in the event you are no longer able to. You may also do so to minimize the bickering and infighting that may come between surviving family members who may have...

Why the disdain for the estate tax

With the federal income tax filing deadline coming this week, it is a good time to talk about taxes and how they may apply to estates. While federal estate tax applies to few estates (i.e. those valued at more than $3.5 million), it continues to be...

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

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 given the stigma against...

Should college students have wills?

If your child is getting ready to graduate from high school this spring, you are probably amazed with how quickly the years have gone by since they first started kindergarten. This also means that you are getting older too, and you have probably...

Considerations in evaluating the prosecution's case

If you have been charged with a crime, it is essential to know how strong the government’s case is against you. Indeed, you may think the state has a flimsy case and has a snowball’s chance to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,...

The benefits of home health care providers

While the Affordable Health Care Act is poised to be amended or replaced completely, the law still has a number of useful provisions that some legislators are uncomfortable parting with. For instance, the current version allows states to create...

What to know about bail conditions

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 proving your innocence. Under state and...

More spent on aging parents than on raising children

Much has been reported on the escalating costs parents face in raising a child. From birth to age 18, it is estimated that parents spend an average of $234,000 to raise a child. But when it comes to caring for an elderly parent, the costs are...

Trial court enters divorce default judgment.

Plaintiff filed divorce action after a nearly 20-year marriage. Although defendant apparently participated in various pretrial conferences and discussed the terms of the divorce judgment, he did not answer the complaint, a default was entered, and...

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
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405