When you enter into a marriage union, you have separate lives that merge into one. The income earned is considered pooled and it is used to cater to different aspects of the family. Some spouses leave their jobs to take care of the children and raise them. Others are tasked with going to work to bring home the ‘bacon.’ Dynamics change and you might find yourself enjoying a higher standard of living because of your spouse.
During a divorce, all these factors are taken into consideration to sort out any spousal support issues.
Determination of Spousal Support
If you are in amicable terms, you and your spouse can decide on the amount that one of you will pay to the other in spousal support. This needs to be documented and then endorsed in a court of law. You would need a Michigan divorce attorney for this process. If you have agreed on everything, you can use one divorce lawyer since all they need to do is to fill in the form and ensure that the process is followed to the letter. Having a divorce attorney could also fast track things which will lead to fast settlement of your divorce.
In cases where there are disputes, you could choose a court-appointed third party, known as an arbitrator, to come and help facilitate discussions between you, your spouse and your Michigan divorce attorneys. This is much cheaper than going to court. However, if the disagreements cannot be settled, then you would have to go to court and get a judge to determine the alimony to be paid and to whom. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration are:
- The spouses’ standard of living
- Disability or health complications
- The ability to pay
- The division of assets during the divorce
How Long Do You Have to Pay?
Ideally, alimony is supposed to help you to get by before you can find a new job. The court will determine whether you have the skills to get a new job or if you would need some time to go back to school or gain these skills in any other way. The payer will then be required to make the payments until the court deems necessary. The standard rule is that alimony payments should stop once the recipient moves in with a lover, gets married or dies. Those are undisputable grounds for continued alimony payment. If you get a job, your ex-spouse might use these as grounds to petition the court to discontinue payments.
For people with disabilities or illnesses that prevent them from working, the payer would be required to make the payments for a lifetime. If the payer happens to die, then proceeds from the estate should be used to offset these payments in a lump sum amount.
Unlike child support, you would not be able to report a non-paying ex-spouse to the authorities. However, you can take them back to court where they might be found in contempt. It does not carry a hefty price such as a jail term.
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