Divorces are never easy and they’re never simple. Even when the process of divorce finishes, you may still be on the hook for potential obligations on a regular basis. One of those is spousal support, previously known as alimony. This is not part of division of property and may not always be a part of a divorce as it’s awarded at a case-by-case basis and the laws surrounding it vary from state to state.
But understanding what spousal support is at the high level can help you when you enter into divorce proceedings.
People probably feel a lot of things when they hear the phrase “alimony” and likely have many cultural connotations with the word and the process around it.
The process of awarding alimony, deciding the amount and the regularity of it, is complex and involves a lot of moving parts. But it doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to blindside you.
Below is some information on alimony and what it can mean for you and your ex-partner after a divorce is over.
Why Do We Have Alimony or Spousal Support?
Alimony exists as a way to limit the possibility of unfair and non-equitable economic devastation a divorce can cause on one spouse. Often, one spouse makes significantly more than the other and when accounts are separated during a divorce, it may leave one far more vulnerable than the other. Often time this coincides with one spouse who is seeking job skills or a career change.
How is Spousal Support Determined?
How spousal support is determined and if it is determined at all depends largely on what state you live in, for starters. Other factors that play into alimony decisions is age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of both spouses. A common factor in alimony is if one spouse is seeking education or job skill training and how long that process will take before they can seek gainful employment. Other common factors include length of the marriage, nature of the divorce, and any prenuptial agreement.
How is Alimony Enforced?
A common theme among divorced couples is the spouse ordered to pay alimony failing to fulfill their obligation. Alimony is not as harshly enforced as child support but does have the threat of wage garnishment if the spouse in question chooses to not pay. There are also ways the court can enforce alimony payments through proceedings and charges.
How long does alimony last for?
Generally, alimony is only to be paid so long as it is necessary. In some cases this may be until one spouse finds a job or completes job skills training or perhaps gets remarried. If there is no determined termination, alimony must be paid until the court deems otherwise.
Who commonly benefits from alimony?
Traditionally, alimony was award to the wives of “bread-winning” husbands after a divorce. But, as times have changed and gender roles in marriages start to disappear, alimony is determined by whichever spouse is more in danger of financial instability as the result of a divorce.
Talk to your divorce lawyer about the possibility of spousal support in your divorce and be ready to have questions ready when the topic comes up.
In Michigan, there no one-size fits all formula for spousal support. Each trial court must carefully weigh the parties’ actual needs and resources, their future prospects, and their abilities to earn. This is a complicated matter that requires an experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law lawyer that can help you litigate a dispute or negotiate an agreement.
If you are pursuing a divorce or need help with a spousal support case, the Family Law Offices of Rappleye & Rappleye, P.C. can help. We have been assisting individuals with divorce and family law matters for over 60 years. Call us today for an initial consultation!