Your divorce will be one of the most challenging financial events you endure. This will be especially true if you and your spouse had a significant income disparity. And it will be even more so if they were your household’s sole earner. In either case, you will likely fear for your future, since spousal support is difficult to get in Michigan. But there are circumstances where you will receive an award.

Understanding Michigan’s spousal support laws

In Michigan, courts do not automatically award support to a dependent spouse in a divorce. Instead, you have two ways you can receive it. You and your spouse may be parting on amicable terms and are proceeding with a non-contested divorce. If you are, you two can work out your own spousal support agreement, which a judge must approve. Yet, your divorce may be acrimonious, or you and your spouse may not agree on the proposed spousal support. You will then need to request spousal support as part of your divorce settlement.

When ruling on your spousal support request, a judge will consider:

  • How long your marriage lasted
  • Your ability to work and any barriers to employment
  • Your age and health
  • You and your spouse’s marital conduct
  • You and your spouse’s shared standard of living
  • Your spouse’s ability to provide support
  • The contributions you and your spouse made to your marriage and estate

Spousal support’s tax implications

Beginning in January 2019, changes in federal law reversed the tax obligation for spousal support. In divorces that happened before this date, spouses providing support could deduct it from their taxable income. Spouses receiving support would then count it as part of theirs. Now, spouses who receive support can deduct it from their taxable income. Spouses who provide support, however, can no longer do so. You may think these tax savings will benefit you. Yet, your spouse will likely end up paying you less than you would have received before. This is because their greater tax burden leaves less money for providing support.

A fair spousal support award will help you make ends meet after your divorce. Yet, it’s important to consider the factors that lead to one, as well as its tax implications. Consulting a family law attorney can help you understand how these will affect you.