Alimony Basics in Utah: Are You Entitled to Spousal Support?

Alimony, or spousal support, is a court-ordered fee or allowance that one spouse pays to the other either while their divorce is pending or for a longer period after the divorce. Both parties can request alimony, but only one party will receive it.

Alimony is designed to help the spouse that has less in income or income-producing assets get back on their feet after a divorce. Your Salt Lake City family law attorney will be able to take a look at your situation and determine whether requesting alimony is a good idea for you.

Criteria to Receive Alimony
The court will consider many factors to determine whether an award of alimony is appropriate. These include:

  • Each spouse’s monthly debt obligations
  • General ability to pay monthly expenses
  • The ability to produce income in the future
  • The capability of the paying spouse to provide support
  • Length of the marriage
  • Whether the spouse has custody of any minor children
  • Whether the couple worked for a family company or if the couple owned part of a business together
  • Whether one spouse paid for or contributed to the education of the other spouse

The judge will generally focus on the couple’s finances, but additional, non-monetary considerations may be important as well. For example, the court can consider each party’s relative “fault” for the ending of the marriage. These things may include:

  • Whether one spouse cheated on the other
  • Whether one spouse caused physical, emotional, or mental harm to the spouse or any minor children
  • Whether one spouse threatened injury to the other spouse or minor children
  • Whether the spouse took steps to ensure that the other spouse would not be financially stable (to decrease the likelihood of divorce or otherwise)

How Alimony is Calculated

The court will consider the couple’s standard of living to determine what the appropriate amount of alimony should be. Generally, this is measured at the time of the separation, but in short marriages, it may be based on the standard of living when the union began. The goal is to equalize the spouse’s relative standard of living.

Unlike child support, there is no schedule or set amount to determine how much alimony should be awarded, but there is a general calculation that the Court will use after reviewing each spouse’s income and debt obligations.

The Duration of Alimony in Utah

As a rule, alimony in Utah will last only as long as the marriage lasted. There are exceptions to this general rule, however. Your Salt Lake City family law attorney will be able to walk you through circumstances that might warrant longer or shorter alimony periods.

Payments will terminate when the receiving spouse remarries or when either spouse passes away. In some situations, the party providing alimony may also be able to ask the court to stop or reduce maintenance payments when the receiving spouse moves in with a new partner.

Alimony may also be increased if the providing party gets married as well. However, these circumstances will often involve some level of underlying impropriety, such as where a spouse who was unfaithful marries the individual with whom he or she was having a relationship.

If you are considering divorce but are concerned about finances, alimony might be a good way to deal with those worries. The Ault Firm, P.C can help with these issues—call today to set up an appointment with Salt Lake City family law attorney, Christopher M. Ault: 801-539-9000.