How is Alimony Determined?
Alimony, a term also known as “spousal support,” is calculated according to a mathematical formula in the state of Michigan. However, other factors come into play which can affect the final alimony determination. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) follows eleven criteria which are used by the court to determine alimony:
- Past relations and conduct of the parties.
- The length of the marriage.
- The ability of the parties to work.
- The source and amount of property awarded to the parties.
- The age of the parties.
- The ability of the parties to pay alimony.
- The present situation of the parties.
- The needs, health, and prior standard of living of the parties.
- Whether the parties support others
- General principles of equity
Yearly gross income tends to be the most significant factor at play. This is reasonable when you consider cases in which one spouse makes significantly more.
These factors can complicate matters and leave both parties feeling a bit confused when pursuing family law support in the wake of a divorce.
How Much and How Long?
Let’s consider some examples. Imagine a husband with an annual pre-tax income of $100,000 and his ex-wife, who has worked as a stay-at-home mom for their entire marriage. He would reasonably be expected to pay more in alimony to his ex-wife, who does not earn an income and is responsible for children.
On the other hand, consider a couple well into middle age with adult children who are no longer dependents. Imagine the husband earns only a slightly higher annual gross income than his wife. Realistically, he will be required to pay significantly less in alimony per month.
While there are spousal support legal calculators that you can access online to estimate in accordance with the formula used by the AAML, these are often inaccurate. The exact mathematical outcome will depend on court evaluation—and every couple’s circumstances will be different.
Pursuing Legal Representation
If you are currently in the midst of a divorce, it would be well worth your time and investment to seek out a consultation with a family law professional.
Your Grand Rapids divorce attorney is qualified to walk you through the process and prepare you for the courts' alimony evaluation. If you are well acquainted with the criteria, you are less likely to be taken by surprise by the court’s calculations.