Michigan law currently allows a judge to award alimony to a spouse in a divorce. In order to award alimony, a judge must consider eleven factors in determining whether alimony or spousal support should be awarded. Some of the more important factors include:
- Length of marriage,
- Ability of the parties to work;
- The age of the parties;
- The health of the parties;
- Needs of the parties;
- General Principals of equity.
There is no exact length of marriage or age in which a person would be entitled to alimony. Usually a short term marriage (under 10 years) will not be a case in which alimony would be considered unless there are underlying health problems. In addition, a case in which there is a 25 year marriage and the parties are earning similar incomes, the court would most likely not consider an alimony request by either party. In contrast, alimony would most likely be awarded in situations where parties have been married over 10 years and there is a great disparity in the earning abilities of the husband and wife. Spousal support is gender neutral. A wife can be ordered to pay spousal support to a husband based on the factors that the court considers.
There are basically two different types of spousal support. There is rehabilitative alimony, which is designed to bridge the gap between being dependent on marital income and returning to the work force. This could include spousal support for 3 to 4 years, which would allow a spouse to attend college or take refresher courses necessary to reenter the work force.