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Differences between alimony and spousal support

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Alimony

Spousal support payments are typically granted by a Michigan family court judge if you have a lower income or have fewer assets than your spouse that can be used to support yourself after a divorce. While there is technically no difference between spousal support and alimony, there may be reasons why one term is preferred over the other in a given case.

Spousal support payments

Spousal support is a general term that implies that payments may be made by a person of either gender. Traditionally, husbands have provided financial support to their wives as men typically worked outside the home while their wives ran the household. However, the erosion of gender roles has seen a rise in the number of female breadwinners in the country. Furthermore, traditional roles may have little or no meaning in a homosexual relationship.


When applicable, alimony payments are made from a party that is found to be at fault for the divorce. For instance, a husband may pay alimony to a wife after committing spousal abuse or infidelity. In such a scenario, a punitive award may be added to any support that a spouse legitimately needs to make ends meet. Of course, alimony payments may be a condition of a divorce settlement even if neither party to the marriage is found to be liable for termination of the relationship.

Typically, alimony payments can be used for a variety of purposes such as buying food, paying rent or buying clothes. If you have children, alimony payments may be used to help pay for a home, car or other items that you use in an effort to make their lives more comfortable.