When a Michigan couples gets divorced, it is possible for a court to award alimony and use each spouse's pension or Social Security benefits as part of its calculations. No two divorce cases are identical, and laws governing divorces can change, so talk to a Michigan divorce attorney if you need legal advice or assistance with a Michigan divorce.
In Michigan, alimony is generally referred to as spousal support. Michigan Compiled Laws section 552.43 grants a court hearing a divorce case the right to award spousal support to either party. The court, as it deems just and reasonable, can order either party to pay spousal support after considering each spouse's ability to pay and the individual circumstances of each case.
When a court considers whether to award alimony in Michigan, it takes into consideration several factors. Michigan's appellate courts have determined that courts should take into consideration 11 factors, including the past relations and conduct of the spouses, each parties' needs, the ability of each party to work and the source and amount of property awarded to the parties. As Social Security and pension awards can affect these factors, the court may take them into consideration when determining what alimony to award.
Social Security Benefits
Regardless of a court's decision about alimony, a spouse of a worker covered under Social Security may be entitled to his own benefits under the work history of the covered spouse, according to Michigan divorce attorney. Social Security benefits are a federally awarded retirement program, and as such, the state divorce court does not have the authority to order the Social Security Administration to divide those benefits. However, the Social Security Act allows spouses who have been married at least 10 years to receive a portion of the working spouse's Social Security benefits even after divorce.
When a court makes an alimony award in Michigan, it does so after considering all the relevant factors and determining the appropriate amount. The court can order a one-time payment, order temporary or periodic payments or order permanent payments as it determines appropriate. However, couples may also come to their own agreement about spousal support payments. As long as the court agrees to the spouse's negotiated terms, it can adopt those as part of the divorce decree.