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Brighton Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of David G. Johnson located in Brighton, Michigan

Challenges of Spousal Support

Generally, when one party requests alimony, the court will consider the need of the spouse seeking alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

What a Judge Considers in Spousal Support


The first question the judge will consider is, “Does the recipient have enough money to live on?” In both countries, the spouse who asks for support is required to seek economic self-sufficiency. The judge will look at the individual’s ability to earn income and the marital and separate assets of the spouse seeking support to determine if he or she can use these assets as a source of support.

The best approach to prove need is to prepare a detailed budget to establish the amount needed for spousal support.


The judge will decide how much the payor can afford to pay and still have enough to live in his or her accustomed standard of living. To determine one spouse’s ability to pay, the judge will add back discretionary savings (such as contributions to retirement plans and automatic withholding to savings accounts, bonds, and employer stock purchase programs).


The length of the marriage is also a consideration when the judge awards spousal support. If the marriage only lasted for two years, it is unlikely that the judge would award permanent spousal support to one spouse. The judge may not award spousal support at all, unless there are children or there is some other circumstance that would prevent the recipient from working. A judge considers all of the facts and circumstances.


The judge will also consider the couple’s standard of living during the marriage.


Another consideration is the age and health of both spouses. Is either disabled or retired? If so, are they receiving a permanent income stream? If one spouse is 50 or older, and has never worked, he or she will have a difficult time finding employment. Spousal support will have to be awarded.


Spousal support may be awarded for a specified time period, or it may continue until it is modified or terminated. Some judges have a rule of thumb that they will award spousal support for half the number of years of the marriage.

Spousal support generally ends upon the death of either spouse, or upon the remarriage of the recipient. Spousal support will continue until it is modified, unless the decree states that it is non-modifiable.

“Mr. Johnson had worked with me on my divorce case involving myself and my 2 minor children. I always felt like he was on my side, and looking out for the best interest of myself as well as my children. He understands the importance of family and that is paramount in how he handles family cases.”

Family Law Client


An experienced attorney representing clients in Business Law, Family Law, and Estate Planning in Livingston County since 1982.


8163 Grand River Rd., Brighton, MI 48114