How to Reduce Spousal Support in Michigan
During the divorce process, a couple will not only go through division of assets as they separate their household and their lives, but there may also be an order of spousal support. In Michigan, there is no set formula for spousal support, unlike child support, so judges have to make determinations on a case-by-case basis.
An award of spousal support is typically designed to uphold fair and equitable division in a divorce, or to compensate the party that will face greater financial challenges following divorce. It may be awarded if one party has significantly higher earnings or earning potential, or if one party is left with less marital property, for example.
It is up to the court to decide what is appropriate based on a variety of factors, such as income and age of both parties, as well as each person’s ability to work, the health and general needs of each party, the standard of living during the marriage, contributions to the joint estate, the length of the marriage, and so on. Spouses can also make their own agreement for spousal support. Spousal support may be ordered as a lump sum payment, or alternately, as periodic payments (monthly or annually) for either a set, temporary duration, or as a permanent arrangement.
That said, situations can easily change over time. The person paying spousal support may lose a job, or the person receiving it may obtain more gainful employment. The receiving party might get married to another person. This is why Michigan offers a pathway to alimony modification. How does it work?
Petitioning for Modification
Following a divorce, either party can petition for a modification to the existing spousal support agreement in order to request an increase, decrease, or termination. In order for the court to consider modification, however, the requesting party must prove that circumstances have changed in a manner that warrants modification. Some examples of such circumstances could include:
– Job change (impacting earnings for better or worse)
– Remarriage (or cohabitation)
– Health issues that cause disability and impact ability to work
– or other relevant factors
Once a court date has been set to consider modification, both parties will be allowed to present evidence so that the judge can decide if modification of spousal support is appropriate, based on the facts and testimony.
Non-Modifiable Spousal Support
In some cases, one or both spouses may be tempted to seek non-modifiable spousal support, which is exactly what it sounds like – an order for spousal support that cannot be modified by the court at a later date. Courts will not grant non-modifiable spousal support unless both parties expressly agree to it, and for good reason.
Even if circumstances change, the agreement cannot be modified for its duration. It doesn’t matter if the person paying spousal support loses a job or suffers a disability that prevents work. The order CANNOT be modified.
Whether you’re seeking spousal support or you’re worried about how much you might have to pay following divorce, it’s wise to have a qualified lawyer to guide you and protect your interests. Contact the experienced attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 or online to learn more.
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