Are you planning to request alimony? Are you wondering how long you will be expected to pay alimony to your former spouse? Whatever questions or legal concerns you have about alimony, as either the receiving spouse or paying spouse, Spencer Family Law can help you. We have years of experience handling high-conflict family matters and aim to make the legal process as smooth and stress-free as possible for our clients. We recognize that every case is unique, so we will take a creative approach as we strategize your alimony case and advocate for your best interests and rights.
Reach out to our team online or at (385) 999-2474 to get started today.
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In Utah, both spouses have the right to request alimony. Alimony can be awarded temporarily while a divorce is pending or provided for a longer duration after divorce has been granted.
The court will consider the following factors when deciding whether to award alimony, and for how long:
- The length of the marriage
- Whether the recipient party has custody of minor children
- The financial needs of the party who would receive alimony
- The recipient's earning capacity
- The ability of the paying spouse to provide support
- Whether the recipient worked in a business owned or operated by the other spouse
- Whether the recipient contributed to increase the other spouse's skill by supporting their education
If the facts of the divorce include some fault of one spouse was a substantial factor contributing to the breakup, the court may also consider this fault in determining whether to award alimony.
"Fault" may include 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 their spouse
- Knowingly and intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm to the other party or minor children
- Knowingly and intentionally causing the other party or minor children to reasonably fear life-threatening harm
- Substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor children
For the purposes of determining alimony, the court will consider both parties’ standards of living at the time of their separation, but in some cases may look further back. The court also may not order support lasting longer than the length of the marriage in most cases, though there are exceptions.
Alimony can end when the receiving spouse begins living with a new partner. However, the paying spouse must request termination of alimony, and has to keep paying the alimony until the Court gives permission to stop. If alimony payments stop, and the Court determines there were not grounds to terminate alimony, the paying spouse can end up with a massive bill along with a contempt finding.
Alimony payments can be periodic (often monthly) or in a lump sum. Periodic payments are the more common option, and in this structure, payments will be due on the first of every month unless specified otherwise. Sometimes the court might order rehabilitative alimony, which means an order that the paying spouse make larger alimony payments for some period of time, but then those payments decrease over time or end completely well before they reach the length of the marriage.
It is also possible to pay alimony through property transfer, though this is a rarer option and is reserved for cases in which one spouse doesn’t have a steady income but does have a significant amount of property that can fulfill their support obligation.
In order to succeed in an alimony claim, a receiving spouse must prove with adequate documentation what the marital standard of living was, the fact that they do not have the ability to generate enough income to meet that standard on their own, and that the paying spouse generates enough income to make up the difference.
Unlike child support, either spouse’s “ability to produce income” takes into account all sources of income including investments, MLMs, royalties, side businesses, and others beyond a single full time job. This is why it is important to have an attorney who can use discovery to track down and obtain those elusive documents proving the other side is getting income from undisclosed sources.
If you are in the process of negotiating or settling alimony as part of your divorce, do not hesitate to contact an experienced alimony lawyer to advocate for your rights. Whether you expect to be the paying spouse or the receiving spouse, Spencer Family Law can help you with your alimony case. We have significant experience with handling high-conflict family law cases and are not afraid to use all the tools at our disposal to ethically and effectively fight for your interests in your alimony matter.
Schedule an initial consultation with Spencer Family Law online or at (385) 999-2474 to discuss your next steps in the alimony process.
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