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In a high-asset divorce, is alimony a sure thing?

When affluent couples divorce, there can be a lot of assumptions about the process. People often assume it will be contentious, lengthy and public, for instance. Of course, this is not always the case, but divorces where there is a lot of money at stake do tend to invite more complexity and attention.

This is perhaps why many people assume that one person will receive alimony in high-asset divorces. In fact, people might think that spousal support is reserved specifically for these cases because there is more money involved. However, like the other assumptions about these divorces, this is not necessarily true.

There is no guarantee of alimony in a divorce, regardless of whether a couple has a lot of money or not. Unless spouses come to a mutual decision in a prenuptial agreement or mediation, one party must petition the court for alimony.

Before deciding whether to award spousal support, Michigan courts consider several factors, including:

  • Each person's income
  • Each person's capability to work
  • Whether there is a need for support
  • Whether the party who would pay support can reasonably afford it
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each person's marital contributions
  • The balance of property division
  • Each person's age and health
  • Marital misconduct

These and other relevant factors tell the courts whether a request for spousal support is appropriate. If it decides it is appropriate, the court will also decide how much is reasonable and how long the payments should last. There is no precise formula or calculation when it comes to alimony.

In other words, simply having a lot of money is not going to determine if and how much spousal support the court might award. Such decisions depend on the specific factors of a case.

Before making any assumptions about alimony, it can be crucial to consult your attorney, whether you want to receive support or you would be the party paying support. Do not rely on guesses or anecdotal evidence from others who are not familiar with the legal process and the details of your marriage and finances.

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