October 21, 2005
Case Law Development: Spending Patterns As Evidence Of Ability To Continue To Pay Alimony In Spite Of Income Reduction
The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's decision to lower but not eliminate Husband's alimony payment. Husband had lost his job and was near retirement. His income had been drastically reduced, near to the amount of alimony he was paying. On a motion to modify, he asked the court to eliminate the duty to pay alimony. The trial court held that cutting the alimony payment by about a third was justified. The appellate court affirmed, finding that, given husband's lavish spending habits, and his ability to draw on an IRA for additional income, there was ample "evidence of plaintiff's continued ability to pay, regardless of his age and reported income" to uphold the trial court's decision to reduce but not eliminate alimony. One dissenting judge would have found the trial court's decision clearly erroneous and inequitable.
Holmes v. Holmes, 2005 Mich. App. LEXIS 2480 (October 11, 2005)
Opinion on the web at http://courtofappeals.mijud.net/documents/OPINIONS/FINAL/COA/20051011_C252528_57_252528.OPN.PDF (last visited October 20, 2005 bgf).