A Michigan spousal support lawyer helps divorcing couples negotiate and settle matters related to spousal support. Spousal support lawyers can provide valuable advice on the financial, emotional, and legal implications of spousal support. They are well-versed in Michigan's divorce laws and understand how different factors can influence the amount of alimony that may be.
One of our experienced divorce lawyers, at Clarity Family Law in Dearborn, can provide guidance in arranging spousal support matters and help make sure that all of your interests are protected throughout the divorce.
Call us today at (313) 513-1919 for a free consultation!
How Does Spousal Support Work?
Spousal support is a court-ordered form of financial compensation and is typically awarded after a divorce. It helps ensure that the more economically disadvantaged spouse, who may not have access to the same opportunities or earning potential as their former partner, is able to still maintain a similar quality of life and standard of living to what they had experienced during the marriage.
Unlike child support, there is no specific formula for calculating spousal support payments, as that decision rests upon various factors determined by the courts. In most cases, spousal support will be given out in periodic payments over an unspecified period of time – though it can also be given in one lump sum or issued under certain conditions that allow for adjustments or cancellation depending on changes in either spouse’s circumstances.
If both spouses are already receiving child support due to custody agreements, it is still possible for one of them to receive spousal support as well; however, in some jurisdictions, spousal support could impact any award of child support due to its added financial burden. Generally speaking, couples should seek guidance from qualified legal counsel regarding their individual needs and situation in order to get an accurate insight into how best to proceed with obtaining, enforcing, or modifying spousal support orders appropriately.
How is Spousal Support Negotiated?
Spousal support is a complicated subject that can be negotiated in a variety of ways, including by mutual agreement between both parties or with the help of a court order. Michigan has laws governing how marital assets are divided when couples divorce; any property or assets accumulated during the marriage are part of the overall marital estate and will be split accordingly.
However, when it comes to tangible items like businesses or real estate that have increased in value during the marriage, this can get complicated – if one spouse owns an asset or business prior to marriage but accrues significant financial gain through it during the course of their relationship, it’s not so straightforward.
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In these cases, ownership of spousal assets might not be split in half but instead could be allocated some other way. Negotiating a division of wealth within these situations requires careful consideration between both parties to ensure equity is achieved while protecting individual interests. In cases involving abuse, infidelity, or abandonment, the court may decide to grant additional compensation to one party through spousal support or a form of asset distribution.
What Factors Does the Court Consider When Determining Spousal Support?
When it comes to a divorce, determining spousal support payments can be one of the most challenging tasks. The court considers numerous factors when making such a decision and attempting to predict the amount of payments awarded can be difficult.
Generally, fault plays some role in the decision; if one spouse is responsible for the dissolution of the marriage due to their actions or behavior, they may not be eligible for spousal support payments or could receive reduced payment amounts. Additionally, the length of the marriage is taken into account as well as the ability of each party to work and earn an income.
For someone unfamiliar with their legal rights and obligations related to such matters, consulting an alimony lawyer may prove beneficial during this process. An experienced divorce attorney will guide you through this complicated process by being aware of these factors as well as any other relevant information that could impact the final judgment made by the court. They will also ensure that you are given a fair settlement and that your rights are protected throughout proceedings.
Types of Spousal Support in Dearborn
When a couple in Michigan decides to divorce, they must decide how to divide their assets. They may also be required to pay spousal support, which is money paid by one spouse to the other for financial support after the divorce. The types of spousal support agreements available in Michigan can vary, depending on the situation.
One type of spousal support arrangement that can be ordered by a judge is Lump-Sum Spousal Support. This means that all payments are due upfront and usually take into account factors such as each spouse's earning capacity or ability to pay. Paying spousal support all at once may be beneficial if the paying spouse has difficulty making consistent payments over time, or if the recipient needs a large sum of money right away.
Alternatively, periodic spousal support can also be ordered which may take the form of either rehabilitative or permanent payments made on an ongoing basis. Rehabilitative payments are designed to help a non-working spouse become independent through education or job training whereas permanent payments are paid out indefinitely until one of the spouses dies or remarries.
Spousal Support and Taxes
The income taxes related to spousal support involve important considerations for both the payer and recipient of those payments. In general, spousal support is considered taxable income for the recipient, and deductible by the payer from their taxable income in order to minimize their tax burden. If a clause specifying “payment until death” is included as part of the spousal support agreement, it will be considered taxable spousal support rather than other forms, such as child support or alimony paid periodically. Furthermore, it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy either. Additionally, if desired by either party involved, clauses like “payable until remarriage” can be included as well.
Before entering into an agreement with regard to spousal support payments, it is wise to consult with an attorney on matters relating to taxable spousal support and other implications related to these types of payments. This could include consulting with accountants or financial advisors who specialize in family law taxes in order to make sure everyone involved understands how taxes will play out.
Spousal Support Laws in Dearborn
When it comes to alimony laws in Michigan, the court's chief consideration is whether or not a payment from one spouse to another is “proper and necessary." Divorcing couples may negotiate an agreement among themselves regarding spousal support payments, and the court will take that into account when considering its ruling. Nevertheless, it is more likely that the court will honor an agreement reached between both parties than modify one imposed unilaterally. This cannot be said for child support arrangements, which are typically subject to greater scrutiny by the courts.
It should also be noted that spousal support laws are gender-neutral in Michigan, meaning that either a husband or wife may be eligible for alimony payments depending on individual circumstances. This allows divorcing couples more autonomy when determining how much money one party must pay the other during and after their divorce proceedings have been completed. Ultimately, these decisions are left up to the courts to decide what they deem “proper and necessary” under any given set of conditions.
The Enforcement of Spousal Support
In some cases, there can be challenges with spousal support. Enforcing spousal support orders is a complex process, but the Michigan Court Rules provide a framework for how to make such orders. In order to enforce these orders, additional legal processes are put in place including paycheck withholding where an employer withholds a designated amount from someone’s paycheck and sends it directly to those charged with providing payment. Additionally, liens can also be placed on personal estate, licenses can be suspended, and/or pension plan proceeds can be attached as necessary methods of enforcement. These tools exist so individuals may collect what is owed them while ensuring due process is seen across the board.
Grounds for Modification of a Spousal Support Order
Modifying a spousal support order can be a complicated process, especially if there are disagreements between the parties involved. In any case, whether or not a spousal support order can be modified depends largely on the nature of both the original court-ordered judgment and the specifics of the situation surrounding it.
Generally speaking, these modifications may be possible if there has been a material change in circumstances. One of the most commonly accepted reasons for modification is a significant change in the financial circumstances of either party since their divorce. This could include increased or decreased income, cohabitation by either party, a major illness, or retirement to name some examples.
Remarriage is another potential reason for modifying existing spousal support orders; however, this does not always necessitate a modification. Whether or not remarriage triggers a potential requirement for modifications is typically determined by examining several factors such as how much and what type of assets each spouse obtained after getting married and what type of lifestyle they are living together compared to prior to marriage. Ultimately, it will be up to the court's discretion when deciding whether or not any modifications should take place in terms of the spousal support order at hand.
How Long Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support?
Spousal support is an important component of most divorce proceedings, as it provides financial assistance to one spouse who may have fewer earning capabilities or resources than the other. When determining how long a person will have to pay spousal support, both parties’ needs and circumstances will be considered by the judge, taking into account many factors such as the duration of the marriage, contributions to the marital estate, and each spouse’s ages.
For example, if spouses were financially dependent on each other during their marriage due to a single stay-at-home partner who bore the brunt of childcare duties or one partner had little income but helped with other tasks in order for the couple to maintain their lifestyle then spousal support could be extended beyond its typical length. The duration of spousal support often ranges from a few months up to several years depending on all these considerations.
It’s also important to note that spousal support can be modified at any time based on changing circumstances such as loss of employment or illness making regular payments impossible. If this occurs then both parties may come before a judge again to determine whether typical arrangements should remain in place or if modifications should be made.
Permanent vs. Temporary Alimony in Dearborn, Michigan
In Wayne County, spousal support payments can come in the form of a one-time lump-sum payment or in periodic, either monthly or yearly installments. Temporary spousal support aims to provide the less financially secure spouse with limited financial assistance in order to obtain job skills, gain education, or any other event that will improve their financial situation.
This type of alimony typically only lasts for a short period of time and can be difficult to acquire as proof is required that progress has been made towards a more secure fiscal situation. Permanent spousal support, on the other hand, is much more likely to occur at the end of long-term marriages; most commonly when one spouse is elderly and not capable of providing for themselves on their own.
In this case, alimony may be permanent until death or remarriage occurs. It must also be noted that permanent alimony may still be adjusted at any time if there is proof that the recipient’s circumstances have significantly improved or worsened since the original ruling was issued.
Call Clarity Family Law Today for a Free, Initial Consultation!
Our family law attorneys at Clarity Family Law can help you understand Michigan’s specific laws on everything from division of property, alimony, child custody and support, and other matters related to your divorce. We will ensure all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely manner and protect you throughout every stage of the legal process to make sure no action taken by either party is outside of what Michigan law allows. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.