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How Marital Fault Can Affect Eligibility for Spousal Support

In Michigan, the primary goal behind spousal support — also known as alimony — is to equalize the financial standing of the parties, so that one spouse doesn’t experience a significant diminishment in their quality of life because of the divorce. Spousal support is not an automatic right, and various factors are considered when determining eligibility and the amount of support. Marital fault can be one of these factors.

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a party seeking a divorce is not required to prove that the other spouse did something wrong to cause the marriage to fail. Instead, the grounds for divorce are the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

However, certain types of marital misconduct may still be considered when determining spousal support. For example, if one spouse has engaged in actions like adultery, domestic violence, substance abuse or financial misconduct, the court may take these factors into account when making decisions about spousal support.

In cases where marital fault is proven or acknowledged, it might impact the court’s decision on the duration and amount of spousal support. For instance, a spouse who has been the victim of domestic violence may be more likely to receive support, while a spouse found guilty of financial misconduct or wasting marital assets might be at a disadvantage.

Judges have wide discretion in spousal support cases, and each case is evaluated based on its unique circumstances. Courts aim to achieve fairness and consider various circumstances, including the financial needs of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage and the ability of each party to support themselves.

If you are facing divorce or have questions about spousal support in Michigan, an experienced family law attorney can provide guidance based on the specific details of your case. Your attorney can help you understand how marital fault may or may not impact spousal support arrangements in your situation.

Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights represents Michigan clients in matters relating to spousal support determinations and other aspects of divorce. Please call 833-671-4445 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.

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