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How can the spouses’ behavior during the marriage affect alimony?

In Michigan, the conduct of the parties during marriage can significantly affect alimony decisions.

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is financial assistance provided by one spouse to the other after a divorce. The purpose is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce.

Role of infidelity

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. A spouse does not need to prove wrongdoing to get a divorce. However, the judge may consider the behavior of each spouse when determining alimony.

If one spouse’s infidelity caused the breakdown of the marriage, the judge might adjust the alimony award. The non-cheating spouse could receive more alimony if the judge believes that the infidelity significantly harmed the marriage and contributed to the financial or emotional hardship of the non-cheating spouse.

Impact of substance abuse

Substance abuse is another factor that can affect alimony decisions in Michigan. If a spouse has a history of drug or alcohol abuse that negatively impacted the marriage, the judge might consider this behavior when awarding alimony.

For example, substance abuse can lead to financial instability, job loss or neglect of marital responsibilities. Any of these can burden the non-abusing spouse. A judge might determine that substance abuse contributed to the marital breakdown. The judge could then grant the non-abusing spouse higher alimony to compensate for the difficulties faced during the marriage.

Considering other marital misconduct

Other forms of marital misconduct, such as domestic violence or financial irresponsibility, can also influence alimony awards. Domestic violence can cause major emotional and physical harm. The judge may increase alimony to support the spouse who experienced abuse.

Financial irresponsibility, such as excessive gambling or reckless spending, can strain the family’s finances. If one spouse’s financial irresponsibility caused significant debt or financial hardship, the judge might adjust alimony to ensure the responsible spouse can recover and maintain stability.

By considering the actions of both spouses, judges aim to ensure a fair outcome that supports the lower-earning spouse and addresses the impact of marital misconduct.