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What Is Michigan Alimony, and How Do You Qualify For It?

What Is Michigan Alimony, and How Do You Qualify For It?

Divorce is wrought with uncertainty and stress, but for many couples, finances are a top concern. It can be difficult to anticipate how your divorce will impact your long-term economic situation, especially when it comes to alimony. 

Understanding what alimony is, how it works, and who qualifies can help you prepare a strong case and achieve a favorable outcome. 

Alimony in Michigan

Also referred to as spousal support, alimony is a court-ordered financial arrangement where one partner continues to economically support the other after a divorce. The main purpose of alimony is to provide a fair financial solution to couples with considerable differences in income.

Since there is no set formula for spousal support, each case will have a unique outcome. With that being said, there are two main types of alimony that a judge may award in Michigan, which include:


Contrary to popular belief, alimony rarely lasts a lifetime. In most cases, the courts will order spousal support for a set amount of time — usually long enough for the lower-earning partner to rebuild their financial independence.


While rare, a judge may award an open-ended alimony arrangement, which means that it will not end until the court orders otherwise. This is typically reserved for retirement-age couples or individuals leaving a very long-term marriage. 

With an open-ended arrangement, the higher-earning spouse has the option to pay the spousal support either as a lump sum or in monthly increments. Both paths come with benefits and drawbacks, but a divorce attorney can help you decide which form of payment is right for you. 

How Do You Qualify for Alimony in Michigan?

For couples who have a significant difference in income, the lower earner may qualify for spousal support. When determining who is eligible, judges will examine these key factors:

Duration of the Marriage

Long-term marriages, which are classified as lasting ten or more years, are more likely to receive alimony. This is because there is often a greater financial dependence within the couple. 

Current Incomes and Earning Potentials 

If a spouse earns significantly less and is unlikely to find a higher-paying job, they may receive alimony. For example, a stay-at-home parent is likely to need financial support until they can build the skills for a sustainable career.

Amount of Disposable Income to Pay

Alimony is not intended to place undue financial stress on the payer. If the higher earner doesn’t have enough disposable income to afford payments, the court will take that into consideration.

While these conditions are generally the most influential when determining who qualifies for alimony, judges take a myriad of factors into consideration prior to making a decision. They may look at each partner’s conduct, how other assets are distributed, and other unique circumstances. 

Alimony and the Role of a Michigan Divorce Attorney

The overall goal of alimony is to provide a fair outcome that allows both parties to financially move forward and restore their independent lives. But trying to come to a financial agreement with your soon-to-be ex-partner may be an emotional and nerve-racking process.  

A divorce attorney is a vital resource for navigating the complexities of spousal support. In addition to helping you build a strong case, your family law attorney can help you mediate disputes and reach a mutually favorable solution. 

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