One financial issue that is likely of concern to you and your spouse during your divorce is whether a court will order spousal support payments. Michigan laws do not directly set out a fixed amount of spousal support, but instead, provide guidelines to help determine a reasonable and fair amount.

Will you wind up paying your former spouse alimony? Take a look at who qualifies for spousal support and what the court will examine to calculate the payment.

Who typically receives spousal support?

If your spouse is unable to maintain the lifestyle he or she had while married, the court may order you to pay alimony. This financial arrangement usually is not permanent. It may only last until your spouse gets back into the workforce or becomes more steady on his or her feet.

Is the length of the marriage significant?

If it is up to a judge to decide spousal support, he or she will consider many factors. One element a judge considers is how long the marriage lasted. The longer your relationship, the more likely the judge is to grant alimony.

Spouses in marriages lasting 10 years or more will likely have spousal support as part of their divorce. However, this does not mean a shorter marriage will not qualify. If there is a wide income gap in a shorter relationship, a judge may mandate alimony.

What other factors does the court take into account?

There is a standard checklist of elements a judge may ponder when deciding whether spousal support should apply. A judge may take all of these or a select few into account:

  • The age of the spouses
  • Any medical conditions
  • Each person’s contribution to the marriage (financial and otherwise)
  • The ability to reenter the workforce
  • The property and debt each spouse receives

Keep in mind that these are guidelines and not directives, and you may have other, unique circumstances that the judge may consider, as well.