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Will I automatically receive spousal support from my wealthier ex-spouse?

In decades past, spousal support or alimony was typically awarded to an ex-wife. Spousal support was intended to provide a financial safety net for women who may have never worked outside the home and likely had no college degree and few marketable job skills. In addition, divorced women were often awarded primary child custody and so the wellbeing and standard of living of shared children was also a consideration.

Today, along with numerous changes to traditional societal roles, so too have there been many changes to the rules and expectations related to spousal support. It's no longer a foregone conclusion that spousal support will be awarded to a woman, or for that matter a man, during a divorce. Rather, if either party requests spousal support, the courts will consider numerous factors when making a decision related to the determination, amount and duration of payment.

According to The Michigan State Bar Foundation, when making a spousal support determination, the courts will take into consideration many factors including:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Roles each spouse played during the marriage
  • Current and projected earnings of each spouse
  • Fairness of the divorce settlement
  • Existence of minor-aged children
  • Standard of living of each spouse
  • Age and overall health of each spouse

Upon making the decision to award spousal support, a Michigan family court will issue what's known as a Uniform Spousal Support Order. The USSO includes provisions related to the amount that is to be paid, the schedule of such payments and terms related to the duration of payments. Frequently, spousal support payments are made monthly for a certain number of years, until the death of one spouse or until the spouse receiving the support remarries. 

Each spousal support request must be handled on an individual basis. Individuals who are interested in learning more about how to obtain spousal support in Michigan would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney who handles family law matters.

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Will I automatically receive spousal support from my wealthier ex-spouse? | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC