Alimony is payments made to a former spouse after the termination of the marriage, sometimes referred to as “maintenance payments” or “spousal support”. Alimony may be required during the divorce process and there are number of factors that impact how long payments will be required and the size of the payments. These payments are separate from any payments made for child support due to the circumstances of child custody.
How Do You Qualify for Alimony?
When deciding if alimony payments are appropriate, and the amount/length of the payments, a Utah court will consider the following:
- The financial condition (including debts) and needs of the party who would receive alimony.
- The recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income. The court will also consider the receiving spouse’s ability to become gainfully employed.
- The ability of the paying spouse to provide support.
- The length of the marriage (generally, the longer the marriage, the stronger the case for alimony).
- Whether the recipient party has custody of minor children who need support.
The court may also consider the fault of the parties for the divorce in determining whether to award alimony. Utah recognizes that, “fault" means any of the following conduct during the marriage that substantially contributed to the breakup of the marriage:
- engaging in sexual relations with a person other than the party's spouse;
- knowingly and intentionally causing (or attempting) to cause harm to the other spouse or minor children; or
- undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor children.
How Much Alimony Can You Receive?
There is no statutory limit as to the maximum amount of alimony that you can receive. The courts will consider the factors listed above when deciding the amount of alimony to be received. Furthermore, a Utah court will also consider the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage.
While there is no statutory maximum, an alimony payment schedule that is abusive or outside the authority of the court may be voided upon appeal to a superior court.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Utah caps the length of time that alimony can be mandated. Unless there are special reasons for a longer period, alimony may not be ordered for a period longer than the length of the marriage. Furthermore, alimony will automatically terminate if the receiving party:
- cohabitates with another person, or
However, a spouse cannot just stop paying alimony. They must first establish one of these events with the court first.
How Do You Petition for Alimony?
The alimony petition process is done through the court system. There are numerous rules and regulations surrounding alimony in Utah and therefore it is so important to have an experienced and dedicated Utah alimony lawyer working for you. Failure to properly or timely file can lead to having your petition for alimony payments denied or limited.
Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?
If you are having trouble receiving alimony or want to petition for alimony, then contact a local Utah family lawyer today to discuss your rights and options under Utah divorce law.