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When does a spousal support obligation end?

| Apr 1, 2021 | Property division |

Spousal support is one of the few lingering obligations that may exist between formerly married people once their divorce proceedings are complete. Not all divorces involve spousal support orders, and as previously discussed on this blog, spousal support is only awarded when there is a reason to do so. Michigan courts can look at several factors to decide if spousal support is appropriate in a divorce case.

However, once spousal support is awarded, the paying party may begin to wonder when their obligation to support their ex will end. There are several different ways that this answer can be found, and this post will explore spousal support durations. No part of this post should be read as legal advice, and the information contained herein should be discussed and reviewed with readers’ family law attorneys.

Spousal support based on agreements

When spousal support is agreed to in a divorce-related contract, the parties can stipulate when the obligation will end. For example, they may build in terms that allow the paying spouse to stop providing support if the recipient spouse remarries or is able to go back to work. Individuals must look to their divorce agreements to determine if the answers are found therein.

Spousal support based on court orders

There different timelines for the end of spousal support obligations. It all depends on the type of support ordered by the courts. For example, if a court orders alimony for the purposes of preparing a recipient to re-enter the workforce, then that obligation may end once the recipient is gainfully employed. Similarly, a support order that only provides for a lump sum payment will be completed once the single payment is made and received.

Spousal support can end for other reasons. When a recipient dies or remarries, a paying party can seek to have their obligation terminated. As readers can see, there are different ways that spousal support obligations can end. They can talk to their family law attorneys to better understand their own orders and agreements.