Alimony or Spousal Support are the same thing. Spousal Support is just newer terminology. The real question is how it is determined.
In Michigan, a court will consider the following factors in deciding whether to award spousal support and how much:
- Past relationship and conduct of the parties
- Length of the marriage
- Amount and source of the property awarded to the parties
- Ages of the parties
- Ability to pay
- Present status of the parties
- Health of the parties
- Needs of the parties
- Prior standard of living of the parties
- Whether either party is responsible for the support of others
- Contribution of each party to the marital estate
- Equitable considerations.
Very generally speaking, the strongest factors are usually the length of the marriage, ability to work and the disparity in incomes. However, an extreme situation in any of the factors may be weighed more heavily.
Although there are computerized alimony guidelines available, the court is not bound to follow them, as it would be with child support guidelines. The alimony guidelines do, however, provide a general starting point for negotiations.
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