Grand Rapids Alimony Lawyer
Whether you are concerned about paying alimony or hoping to receive financial support from your soon-to-be-former spouse, determining whether (and to what extent) alimony, also known as spousal support, is owed is a critical step in the divorce process. In Michigan, not all divorces result in an award of alimony. However, an agreement (or court order) to pay alimony can impact spouses’ asset division and various other aspects of their divorce. That said, spouses must carefully weigh their options with regard to spousal support and pursue a divorce strategy that provides the best long-term financial solution. An experienced Grand Rapids alimony lawyer can help you explore your choices.
Making Strategic Use of Alimony During Your Divorce
When spouses negotiate the terms of their divorce instead of the judge deciding the issues, they have a significant amount of leeway with regard to crafting a divorce settlement that involves mutually-agreeable financial and property-related terms. Depending upon their personal financial circumstances, this may or may not involve payment of alimony. For example, if one spouse wishes to keep high-value marital assets and the other prefers a fresh start, it may be possible to use alimony to arrive at an amicable resolution. On the other hand, if both spouses have roughly equal earning power and they wish to divide their assets equally, then incorporating an alimony award into their divorce judgment may be unnecessary.
Importantly, while alimony payments used to be tax-deductible, this is no longer the case under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As a result, paying alimony does not offer the tax incentive it used to for high-earning spouses. However, there are still circumstances in which agreeing to alimony can ultimately serve both spouses’ best interests, and both spouses should devote the time and energy necessary to make strategic decisions regarding the use of alimony.
Alimony: When the Courts Decide
Often, parties are not able to reach an agreement regarding alimony, and then they must ask a judge to decide alimony for them. Under Michigan law, judges must consider the following factors when evaluating a spouse’s request for alimony:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial contributions during the marriage
- Each spouse’s conduct during the marriage
- The spouses’ respective ages and health conditions
- The spouses’ respective incomes and earning capacities
- The educational level of the spouse seeking alimony
- The spouses’ ability to pay and the need for alimony
- The division of the spouses’ marital assets
- Any other financial support obligations owed by either spouse
Paying alimony does not have to mean writing a monthly check until the end of time. In fact, in today’s world, so-called “permanent” alimony is the exception rather than the norm. Temporary and “rehabilitative” alimony awards are far more common, and both spouses should approach the issue of alimony with realistic expectations in light of Michigan law and the unique personal and financial circumstances involved in their divorce.
Should Alimony Play a Role in Your Divorce? Speak With a Grand Rapids Alimony Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you live in Grand Rapids or West Michigan and would like more information about whether it makes sense to incorporate alimony into your divorce, we encourage you to contact a Grand Rapids alimony lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment at a time that is convenient for you, please call (616) 285-0808 or tell us how to reach you online today