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Spousal Support (Alimony) in Michigan

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Spousal support, commonly known as alimony, is a payment made by one spouse to the other after a divorce. In Michigan, spousal support is a legal obligation that is often included in divorce settlements. If you are going through a divorce in Michigan, it is important to understand how spousal support works and how it can impact your financial future.


Spousal Support Laws in Michigan


In Michigan, spousal support is not mandatory in every divorce case. However, if the Court determines that one spouse has a financial need and the other spouse has the ability to pay, it may order spousal support. The Court will consider several factors when deciding whether to award spousal support, including:

- The length of the marriage

- The age and health of each spouse

- The financial resources of each spouse

- The earning capacity of each spouse

- The standard of living during the marriage

- The contributions each spouse made to the marriage


Once the Court has determined that spousal support is appropriate, it will consider the amount and duration of the support. Michigan law does not provide specific guidelines for calculating spousal support. Instead, the Court will consider the factors listed above and any other relevant circumstances to determine an amount and duration of spousal support that is equitable given the circumstances.


The parties can also agree to a spousal support provision for their judgment of divorce. This is oftentimes handled outside of court with the assistance of their attorneys.


Tax Implications of Spousal Support in Michigan


Prior to 2019, spousal support payments were tax-deductible for the paying spouse and taxable income for the receiving spouse. However, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, this tax treatment was eliminated for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018. In Michigan, this means that spousal support payments made under a divorce settlement after that date are no longer tax-deductible for the paying spouse and no longer taxable income for the receiving spouse.


Modification of Spousal Support in Michigan


Spousal support orders in Michigan are not necessarily set in stone. If there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a health issue, either spouse can request a modification of the spousal support order. However, the court will only modify the order if there has been a significant and continuing change in circumstances since the original order was issued. There are numerous issues that affect modification of spousal support, and the provisions of a judgment of divorce can determine whether modification is possible. The classifications of such payments in a judgment of divorce can be hugely important when unforeseen downside scenarios occur after the divorce is finalized, and it is important to seek legal advice to ensure your interests are protected.


Take Away


Spousal support can be a complicated and emotionally charged issue in divorce cases. If you are going through a divorce in Michigan and have questions about spousal support, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney. Benedetto Law, PLLC can help you understand your legal rights and obligations and work to negotiate a fair settlement that protects your financial interests.

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