Why do I Have to Pay Alimony? Can’t my Lazy ex Earn Their Own Money? (Pt 1)

Tired of shelling out cash for your ex who doesn’t seem to want to earn their own dough?

If you’re here, reading this article, it’s because you’re expecting to have to pay alimony to someone you’re divorcing, and you don’t think you should have to make alimony payments. You’re not alone in that. Many people don’t think they should have to pay any kind of spousal support after divorce. However the family court does things a certain way, and has certain rules in place for very specific reasons.

Because this is an issue that many clients have raised over the years, we thought it might be time to explain a few things about alimony and how the Michigan family court deals with it. So if you think your lazy ex should get out there and earn their own paycheck, and not take a penny of your hard earned paycheck, then this article is for you!

Alimony serves a very specific purpose after a divorce

So what’s the point of alimony anyway? Well, here in Michigan, the point of alimony (which is also called ‘spousal support’) is “to balance the incomes and needs of the parties in a way that will not impoverish either party.” In other words, the goal is to make sure that both spouses get a fair and reasonable income after they end their marriage.

So why do it that way? Why not just make both of them work for their money? Well, that’s a good question. But it’s rarely that easy, or that simple. For example:

  • There are situations where one spouse stays home as the homemaker and caregiver for the couple’s children, while the other spouse gets a job. The role of full time parent is no less valuable to a family that the role of breadwinner. So when the couple parts ways, it’s only fair that the partner who stayed at home to allow their spouse to establish a career, also continues to receive an income to sustain their life, just as they did when they were married.
  • Also, in some cases, one spouse becomes the sole breadwinner so the other spouse can attend school to further their education. Supporting your spouse through medical or law school, or something similar, is a major sacrifice. It would only be fair, if the couple gets divorced once that spouse finishes school and attains a lucrative career, that they both benefit from what they both made financially possible.
  • If a couple gets married and one of them earns considerably more than the other, but they pool their resources and live together as a unit, divorce would divide that pool. But they’ve both become accustomed to the lifestyle that the combined incomes allow. The court simply wants to allow the individuals to maintain something similar to the lifestyle these individuals have become accustomed to

If you’re getting divorced, then alimony is going to come up!

Whether or not you’re planning to pay alimony, if you’re getting divorced in Michigan then it’s a subject you’re going to have to address. And there’s a good chance you’re going to have to make alimony payments of some kind, simply because the court insists on a fair division of income. However, everyone’s idea of ‘fair’ is different. And that’s where we come in.

Join us next time for more info on alimony and how it works here in Michigan. But until then, if you’re considering divorce, and you have questions about alimony, call 866 766 5245. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you figure out every aspect of your divorce, and help you ensure that your rights, and your finances are protected!


Brandy impressed me right away with her factual approach to my child custody case. She definitely knows the field well and never sugar coated things for me. I did feel lost many times, since this was all new to me, but looking back I kind of want to kick myself and remind me to trust Brandy. I felt uninformed a few times throughout the process, which was hard for me, but in spite of those moments, I did get great positive results in my case. She proved without a doubt in the end that she knows the system and she's an attorney to be reckoned with. Opposing counsel was actually shaking. My advice to potential clients is to definitely use Brandy for your child custody case, and to trust that she is giving you the best advice for your situation, and providing you the most quality representation you can buy. She is also a very busy professional, but she was always willing to sit down with me and answer my questions if I asked to. If I need further alterations to my custody agreement in the future, I certainly hope that Brandy will represent me again.

Bonnie on Avvo, 2015

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