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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
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What are my financial rights in a legal separation in the state

Resolved Question:

What are my financial rights in a legal separation in the state of MI?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney here to assist you.


A trial court has discretion to award spousal support under MCL 552.23. There are essentially 14 key factors that the court considers in determining whether or not one is entitled to spousal support, and if so, for how much.


Here's the statute:


§ 552.23. Judgment of divorce or separate maintenance; further award of real and personal estate; transmittal of payments to department of human services; service fee; failure or refusal to pay service fee; contempt; "state disbursement unit" or "SDU" defined.

Sec. 23. (1) Upon entry of a judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, if the estate and effects awarded to either party are insufficient for the suitable support and maintenance of either party and any children of the marriage who are committed to the care and custody of either party, the court may also award to either party the part of the real and personal estate of either party and spousal support out of the real and personal estate, to be paid to either party in gross or otherwise as the court considers just and reasonable, after considering the ability of either party to pay and the character and situation of the parties, and all the other circumstances of the case.

(2) Upon certification by a county department of human services that a complainant or petitioner in a proceeding under this chapter is receiving public assistance either personally or for children of the marriage, payments received by the friend of the court or the state disbursement unit for the support and education of the children or maintenance of the party shall be transmitted to the department of human services .

(3) If the court appoints the friend of the court custodian, receiver, trustee, or escrow agent of assets owned by a husband and wife, or either of them, the court may fix the amount of the fee for such service, to be turned over to the county treasurer and credited to the general fund of the county. The court may hold in contempt a person who fails or refuses to pay a fee ordered under this subsection.

(4) As used in this section and section 24 , "state disbursement unit" or "SDU" means the entity established in section 6 of the office of child support act, 1971 PA 174, MCL 400.236.

The case of Myland v. Myland, 2010 Mich. App. LEXIS 2243 interprets the statute as follows:


The primary purpose of spousal support is to balance the incomes and needs of the parties in a way that will not impoverish either party based on what is just and reasonable under the circumstances of the case. Among the factors to be considered are: (1) the past relations and conduct of the parties; (2) the length of the marriage; (3) the abilities of the parties to work; (4) the source and amount of property awarded to the parties; (5) the parties' ages; (6) the abilities of the parties to pay alimony; (7) the present situation of the parties; (8) the needs of the parties; (9) the parties' health; (10) the prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others; (11) contributions of the parties to the joint estate; (12) a party's fault in causing the divorce; (13) the effect of cohabitation on a party's financial status; and (14) general principles of equity. The trial court should make specific factual findings regarding the factors that are relevant to the particular case.

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