Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alimony/Spousal Support Ordered By The Court Is Always Modifiable

By: Carole L. Chiamp

If parties cannot agree on the amount and duration of alimony/spousal support, they must go to trial and have a trial judge determine how much alimony/spousal support is to be awarded and for how long it will be awarded.  In an unpublished case, Smith v Smith, Michigan Court of Appeals unpublished opinion in 2012, Docket No. 309094, the appellate court said that even though a trial court may indicate limitations as to amount and length of time alimony/spousal support is to be paid, this is only presumptive.  A change of circumstances allows either party to return to court for a modification.

Many couples, faced with future modifiability, would rather opt for certainty and agree to a sum payable for a certain length of time.  If the parties agree in writing, then the alimony/spousal support is not modifiable.

Unpublished cases do not carry the weight of law but can be instructive for the trial judges.

No comments: