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Michigan Divorce Mediation: Spousal Support (Alimony) Mediation

Spousal support can be a very challenging and emotional issue for parties. Spousal support is intended to balance the standards of living and help the receiving spouse’s transition toward becoming financially independent. Thus, it is important to focus on the need the spousal support will fulfill for the requesting party. Mediation allows parties to brainstorm options and come up with a solution that best meets the needs of both parties.

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Twelve factors are considered when determining whether spousal support is appropriate. These factors include:

  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 the property awarded to the parties,
  5. The age of the parties,
  6. The ability of the parties to pay spousal support,
  7. The present situation of the parties,
  8. The needs of the parties,
  9. The health of the parties,
  10. The prior standard of living of the parties,
  11. Whether a party is responsible for the support of others, and
  12. General principles of equity.

Spousal support can be calculated using a formula that takes into account four of the 12 factors:

(1) the age of the parties;
(2) the length of the marriage;
(3) the educational level of the parties; and
(4) the income of the parties.

In addition to the amount of support to be paid, parties should also consider the duration of the support.

Spousal Support Options

Many options are available to fulfill spousal support obligations, including, the exchange of support for property. Spousal support payments are generally tax deductible to the paying spouse and taxable income to the receiving spouse. The parties may wish to consider using a financial planner to help them determine spousal support levels if the parties wish to balance their available incomes. In addition, spousal support can be modified if there’s a change in need, ability to pay, retirement or other issues. The parties may also agree to no spousal support but reserve the right to revisit the issue at a later time.

Advantages Of Michigan Spousal Support Mediation

Mediation provides parties with a non-adversarial, private and confidential environment in which to discuss these very sensitive issues and to address the needs and capabilities of both parties. Mediation also allows parties to retain control of their futures rather than leave them in the hands of a judge or jury.