How is Alimony Calculated in Utah?

Divorce can bring many things to the lives of those involved.  One concern that faces almost everyone is financial instability, especially if the marriage relied on the earning ability of one spouse over the other.  Many people do not fully understand alimony, much less how it works in Utah.  You can find some information about alimony and how if you or your ex-spouse may request and qualify for spousal support.  As always, contact our office today if you live in Utah and are interested in speaking with a family law attorney about your case. 

Understanding alimony and what it means.

Either spouse can apply for alimony or spousal support in Utah.  This means that it is not automatically given nor denied for a husband or wife.  Family courts and ultimately a judge will determine the length and amount of alimony awarded depending on a variety of factors.  Typically they will consider the following items:

  1. The financial condition and ability to earn that the person requesting spousal support has.
  2. If one party lacked or sacrificed education, work experience or earning ability to care for the family.  An example would be if one spouse achieved higher education and built a career, while the other spouse stayed at home and cared for the children and the needs of the house. 
  3. The length of the marriage and the amount of marital assets. 
  4. The ability of the paying spouse to pay for support while maintaining financial stability.
  5. If the requesting spouse assisted with paying for the education or building of the business for the other spouse. 

It is also important to note that the courts may take into consideration if one party was at fault during the marriage and it lead to the dissolution of the marriage.  At fault for example could mean if one spouse cheated or committed adultery during the marriage.  It could also be the case that one spouse was physically, mentally or emotionally abusive to the other spouse or their children while they were married. 

General rules with alimony

There are also some general rules that may be applied to an alimony case is Utah.  Remember the purpose of alimony is to put both spouses in a position where they are living as close to the same standard of living that they had during the marriage.  However, this standard is established during the time of the divorce.  Hypothetically if you were married for 10 years, the standard would be closer to how things were during the 9th year as opposed to years 1-8.  As a general rule judges are not allowed to grant alimony for longer than the marriage took place.  This is of course some extenuating circumstances can be established that would require the spousal support length to be extended. 

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