Child Support And Spousal Support

One of the many factors to be considered during a divorce case is whether one party and their minor children will receive financial support from the other party for a period of time during and after the divorce has concluded. Other factors considered include the amount of support, the length of time it is paid, how it is paid, and from what source(s).

Child Support

Child support is generally determined by using the Michigan Child Support Formula which relies upon each party's incomes, the number of overnights the children spend with each party, health insurance premium payments and sometimes other factors. In Michigan, child support is paid until a child turns 18 or later, up to age 19 ½, if the child is still in high school with a reasonable expectation of graduating. An accurate determination of each party's actual income available for payment of child support must be made during the case so that the appropriate amount of child support is paid.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

Unlike child support, there is not a legally recognized formula for the determination of spousal support. Although a few such formulas exist, they may be only considered for discussion purposes rather than as legally binding. Many Court of Appeals cases have relied upon certain factors when reviewing the incomes and needs of the parties for a spousal support determination to ensure that neither party is impoverished by payment of a spousal support award.

These factors to be considered are:

  1. The past relations and conduct of the parties;
  2. The length of the marriage;
  3. The abilities of the parties to work;
  4. The source and amount of property awarded to the parties;
  5. The parties' ages;
  6. The abilities of the parties to pay alimony;
  7. The present situation of the parties;
  8. The needs of the parties;
  9. The parties' health;
  10. The prior standard of living of the parties;
  11. Whether either party is responsible for the support of others; and
  12. General principles of equity.

A determination regarding spousal support is made during ongoing discussions and negotiations and must address many factors, including the amount of support to be paid, the term of the payments, whether the support award is modifiable or non-modifiable, method of payments, which income source(s) is to be considered for the support award, security for the support, and any other relevant factors.