Determining Alimony in a Utah Divorce Case

Utah Alimony Attorney

The purpose of alimony in a Utah divorce case is to provide spousal support in a way that provides the receiving spouse a standard of living similar to that which he enjoyed during the marriage.  Another purpose of alimony is to prevent the receiving spouse from becoming a public charge.

There are various factors that go into determining the amount of alimony to be paid as well as for how long.  Those factors are set forth in the Utah Code and include:

  • the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
  • the recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income
  • the ability of the paying spouse to provide support
  • the length of the marriage
  • whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support
  • whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the paying spouse
  • whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the paying spouse’s skill by paying for education received by the paying spouse or allowing the paying spouse to attend school during the marriage

Other factors that the court may consider include:

  • who was at fault in the breakup of the marriage
  • a major change in the income of one spouse at the threshold of the dissolution of the marriage, where the change was due to the collective efforts of both and the marriage was of long duration
  • restoring each party to the condition which existed at the time of the marriage, where the marriage was of short duration and there were no children

Alimony Awards Difficult to Predict

Although courts tend to consider the different factors set forth above many judges are unpredictable.  Their decision has to be based at least loosely on the factors above but many courts will simply look at the income and expenses of each party and award the difference to the party who has the lower income.  Needless to say, an alimony award has the potential to cause severe financial distress to the paying party.

If you have additional questions please contact our law firm at 801.618.1331.

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