187 South Old Woodward Avenue
Suite 250
Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Call Today (248) 540-3800
Divorce / Family Law Specialists
Ronald J. Bajorek
& Associates

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony is now generally known by its politically correct name of “spousal support”.  
Other than child custody and child support there is no other divorce issue containing more emotion and, indeed, confusion.

In its simplest terms spousal support is payment of money or assets by a party to a former spousal for the continued support of the spouse after divorce.  The source of confusion is that unlike child support, Michigan has no legislative tables for when, how much, and for how long alimony should be awarded.  The court goes by what it “considers just and reasonable”, in light of the ability of either party to pay and the character and the situation of the parties, and all other circumstances of the case.  Adding to the problem is that each county circuit court family law judge has their own philosophy so that one judge may award 10 years of spousal support while another judge in the adjacent courtroom, under the same facts, would award none. 

Despite the above, nevertheless there are 11 established guidelines that maybe used in every case to grant or deny spousal support.  These are:

  1. The past relations and conduct of the parties;
  2. The length of the marriage;
  3. The ability of the parties to work;
  4. The source of an amount of the property awarded to the parties;
  5. The age of the parties;
  6. The ability of the parties to pay alimony;
  7. The present situation of the parties;
  8. The needs of the parties;
  9. The health of the parties;
  10. The prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others;
  11. General principles of equity

By law the judge must consider each and every of the above 11 factors.  However, in actual practice courts tend to give more weight to the length of the marriage, the ability of the parties to work, the age of the parties and the prior standard of living of the parties.  
In general I have found that the following is generally true:

  1. For a marriage 5 years or less spousal support is generally not awarded absent very unusual circumstances. 
  2. For a marriage is between 6 and 10 years short term alimony is considered and awarded only if there is a significant disparity of incomes and the payee spouse has not worked or is unable to immediately return to work. 
  3. For a marriage of between 10 and 20 years spousal support is normally a relevant issue to be decided applying all of the above 11 factors. 
  4. For a marriage over 20 years spousal support is always a significant factor which can range from long term alimony to permanent, lifetime alimony.

It is important to keep in mind that no two cases are the same.  I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below.  However, you may contact Ronald J. Bajorek & Associates at 248-540-3800 or email me at ronaldjbajorek@yahoo.com for an in-depth no fee consultation regarding your case including my professional opinion and options regarding spousal support. 

Ronald J. Bajorek
187 South Old Woodward Avenue
Suite 250
Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Call Today (248) 540-3800
Located in the historic Birmingham Theatre Office Building 1 block south of Maple, in the heart of downtown Birmingham.

Providing comprehensive divorce representation throughout Michigan including cities of Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Franklin, Bingham Farms, Beverly Hills, Huntington Woods, Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Novi, Southfield, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Clarkston, Livonia, Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Commerce, Milford, Brighton, Grosse Pointe, Sterling Heights, Bloomfield Twp., Shelby Twp., Macomb, Ann Arbor, Lake Orion, Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County and Livingston County among others.

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