The Family Law Leader

Modifying Spousal Support in Michigan

Michigan spousal support payments can be modified based on changed circumstances unless the parties agree in the judgment that it is non-modifiable. Most judgments of divorce provide that spousal support will be payable for a set number of years, with the amount being modifiable based on a change of circumstances. Spousal support typically ends when the recipient marries or cohabitates with another person as an economic unit. Spousal support is generally taxable as income to the recipient and deductible by the payor. Spousal support provisions are contained in the judgment of divorce and a uniform spousal support order, which, like a child support order, can be the basis for garnishment of wages.

Can You Make Spousal Support Non-Modifiable?

The court cannot make spousal support non-modifiable unless the parties expressly agree to do so. If you are considering doing this so that your spouse cannot come back to ask for an increase, proceed with caution. The non-modifiability provision will apply to both the payor and payee. There have been cases where the payor has opted for non-modifiable support, thinking he was protecting himself from an increase, without thinking about what would happen if his income decreased. Case law has held that even with a drastic change of circumstances such as job loss or a serious health condition, non-modifiable spousal support is just what it says: non-modifiable. Thus, both the payee and payor of spousal support should carefully consider all the ramifications of non-modifiable support before making it so.

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