The 4 Types of Alimony in Michigan:

Temporary: Temporary spousal support is available for those who are unable to support themselves during the divorce process. In a temporary alimony order, you’d ask the court to order your spouse to continue covering essential expenses — such as the mortgage, utility bills, car lease, etc. — and/or provide you with a certain amount of money to cover your financial needs during the divorce process.

Periodic: Also known as rehabilitative support, periodic support is the most common type of alimony awarded in Michigan. It is typically awarded in instances in which one spouse can be self-supporting, but not immediately, such as if a spouse gave up their career to raise a family. Periodic support allows the recipient time to develop job skills or finish a degree so that they can become financially independent. While there is no standardized amount of time for which periodic alimony must be paid, the court will often order this type of spousal support for the equivalent of one-third to one-half of the duration of the marriage. 

Permanent: Permanent alimony is the exception in Michigan. It is reserved for cases in which the parties were married for an extended period of time and the recipient is unable to become financially independent due to age, health, or disability.

Lump-sum: Also referred to as alimony in gross, lump-sum support is when one party agrees to pay the entire support award in one payment. The benefit of lump-sum alimony is that there is no continuing obligation to an ex-spouse. The downside is that it requires paying a significant amount of money upfront, which is why it is relatively rare.

Modifying a Spousal Support Order

Courts understand that circumstances change. If you can provide evidence of a significant change in circumstances since an alimony order was made, the court may agree to modify your current order. Common changes in circumstances to warrant modification include:

  • Cohabitation with a new partner: While this in and of itself is not enough to justify changing an alimony order, it may be deemed sufficient should the alimony recipient be receiving some amount of financial support from their new partner.
  • New support obligation: If the ex-spouse paying alimony remarries and has a child, the court may reduce their alimony payments, so as not to put financial hardship on their new family. 
  • A change in need of the parties: In instances when a recipient’s need for support decreases or ceases, such as if they get a job with a higher salary, either spouse may request for a decrease or increase in the amount of support paid or received.
  • Financial emergency: Should either spouse experience a financial emergency, such as a large medical bill, they may request for a decrease or increase in the amount of alimony paid or received.
  • Difference in the payer’s ability to pay: Should the payer suddenly experience a decrease in income, for instance in the case of being dismissed or demoted from a job, they may request a decrease in the amount of alimony they must pay.

If you wish to modify a spousal order, either as the recipient or payer, Sarnacki Law Firm can help. Modifying alimony requires providing evidence in court, and Dave Sarnacki has the experience and expertise you need to make a strong case in support of your request. Get in touch with us today for more information. 

Contact Sarnacki Law Firm for Your Alimony Needs Today!

Whether you’re looking to request court-ordered spousal support, or you want to modify an existing alimony order, Sarnacki Law Firm can help you get the results that you desire and deserve. We are currently accepting new clients. Reach out to us today to discuss your situation and schedule and initial consultation. We look forward to working with you.