Spousal support (also known as alimony or maintenance in other states) is often complex and a gray area in Michigan. Because Michigan doesn’t have written guidelines or a formula for spousal support, its determination can be largely based on the discretion of a judge. However, since the vast majority of divorce cases in Michigan aren’t decided by a Judge (i.e. don’t settle at trial), divorcing clients are often left wondering at to expect.
This blog will help shed some light as I break down some of the factors that can be considered as well as the role professionals play in the support negotiation process.
In fact, negotiating spousal support is a key reason divorcing parties in Michigan need experienced family law attorneys and divorce financial professionals on their team. Based on the circumstances of a case, an experienced divorce attorney understands the factors that can be considered and, more importantly, how they should be weighted. An experienced divorce financial advisor provides valuable support by helping to gather and present evidence to support the attorney’s positions.
Here are some of the factors that can be considered when deciding spousal support:
- Longer marriages are generally more likely to result in spousal support, so the duration of the marriage is an important factor.
- The income earning capacity of each spouse is also taken into account. This includes their current income and ability to earn income in the future.
- The age and health of each spouse are considered. This includes their physical, emotional and mental health.
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage is often taken into account.
- Contributions of each spouse to the marriage are considered. This includes child-rearing, homemaking and supporting the other spouse’s career.
- Other factors that may be considered include fault in the breakdown of the marriage, the size of the marital estate, the size of any separate property and the educational level of the parties as well as other relevant factors.
Building a case
Since spousal support is generally a negotiated aspect of divorce, building a case for spousal support often requires the assistance of a financial planner who is specifically trained and experienced in divorce. In conjunction with the attorney and client, here are some steps that a financial advisor will take to help build a case for or against spousal support:
They will start by helping clients determine their monthly needs including fixed and discretionary expenses that take inflation into consideration. This is often done through the creation of a post-divorce budget worksheet. Then, your spouse’s financial needs will also be similarly assessed. This will help determine how much support may be needed to balance the parties’ relative financial positions after the divorce in a fair and equitable manner.
The financial advisor will also take into consideration each party’s current and future income earning potential, including wages, Social Security, pension benefits and earnings on investments. Last, to build a case for or against spousal support, your financial advisor will also provide evidence of your financial situation through the creation of a detailed marital balance sheet with financial projections based on different settlement scenarios. This process may include gathering and reviewing bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, retirement account information and other financial documents.
Remember that spousal support is not guaranteed, and the specific terms of the arrangement will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. It is important to work with a qualified team of professionals who can help you build a strong case and advocate for your personal financial needs during and after the divorce.
For more information about how Pearl Planning can assist you during your divorce, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investment advisory services offered by Pearl Planning, a DBA of Stephens Consulting LLC., an SEC registered investment adviser. Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Pearl Planning does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results.
Links are being provided for information purposes only. Pearl Planning is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Pearl Planning is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.
Pearl Planning cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. Pearl Planning makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.
Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Pearl Planning, or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this presentation will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s}, be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Pearl Planning. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.
Diversification and asset allocation do not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss. Stock markets are volatile and can fluctuate significantly in response to company, industry, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. Investing in stock involves risks, including the loss of principal. Pearl Planning does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results. We cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. We make no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use,and disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.
If you are a Pearl Planning client, please remember to contact Pearl Planning, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, odd, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Pearl Planning shall continue to rely on the accuracy of information that you have provided. Please Note: IF you are a Pearl Planning client, please advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at Least quarterly} from the account custodian. A copy of Pearl Planning’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request or at www.pearlplan.com.
Jacki Roessler, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® at Pearl Planning. Reach out for a call today at 248.875.4985. Schedule an Initial Consult Now.
600 S Adams Road, Suite 300 Birmingham, MI 48009