I was asked a question at lunch recently: "Can you really get alimony if your spouse was cruel to you during your marriage?"
The answer is not straight forward or simple. In Michigan, an award of spousal support is predicated on the parties meeting a host of factors, one of which is the Court's observation of the parties' behavior generally, and toward one-another, during the marriage.
MCL 552.23 generally requires that any alimony award must be 'just and reasonable under the circumstances of the individual case.'
So is being a regular jerk enough? (Probably not). But, did the alleged cruelty give rise to other serious personal issues for the party claiming a need for alimony? Did they suffer a permanent debilitation or injury from the actions of their spouse? Will the party claiming a need for alimony require ongoing treatment as a result of their former partner's cruel behavior?
Having a romantic relationship with another adult outside of marriage is considered by many to be a cruelty towards the spouse, and Michigan law recognizes that such behavior should be a factor for the Court to consider in determining alimony as well.
There are no clear cut answers in Michigan family law, because the laws are purposefully constructed to be applied based on the facts of the individual case.
So if you're having lunch and someone tells you something about divorce in Michigan, remember that there are very few situations where the Court will address an issue in a uniform manner.