Divorce can be an unhappy time for many people. People marry with the intent of staying with one person forever. Unfortunately, not all marriages end in happily ever after. In the event of a divorce, the issue of property and finances will ultimately arise. Divorce does not always mean the former spouses are done with each other. Sometimes, a divorce can seriously financially disadvantage one spouse more than the other. Courts often try to prevent this unfair outcome through equitable division of assets and alimony.
Alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce. Alimony can be a hotly contested issue, especially between acrimonious spouses. Alimony is meant to keep spouses in the same or similar living conditions as they were during the marriage. Numerous conditions are considered, including the income of the parties and their potential earning capacity over time. Alimony can be awarded on a short-term, temporary basis, or for a longer period of time after the divorce.
If you are in the process of obtaining a divorce, you may need to think about whether you need alimony. Our Salt Lake City divorce attorneys can help you argue for the alimony you need to maintain your life after a divorce. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation with our experienced team.
Who Gets Alimony After a Divorce in Utah?
In the past, women were typically awarded alimony payments from their ex-husbands. This is likely because women traditionally did not work outside the home and often had no income of their own, making them financially dependent on their husbands. Today, however, women often have their own careers outside the home and may even out-earn their husbands. Not only that, but same-sex marriages are now legal, making the male-female marriage dynamic inapplicable in many alimony cases. Today, anyone may be awarded alimony from their spouse.
The spouse that receives alimony and the spouse that pays will vary from case to case. In instances where one spouse greatly out-earns the other and is the family’s primary breadwinner, alimony is a bit clearer. Other times, spouses may have similar earning potentials, and alimony might be harder to determine. Still other times, both spouses can maintain their lifestyles independently, and alimony may not be necessary at all.
If you believe you need alimony after your divorce, call our Utah alimony attorneys for assistance. Our team can help you get a fair alimony award to support you through this difficult time.
How is Alimony Determined after a Divorce in Utah?
Alimony is determined alongside divorce proceedings by the Utah court system. No two marriages are the same, and the need for alimony will differ between cases. In the Utah court system, numerous factors, financial and otherwise, are used to determine alimony after a divorce:
- The finances of the party requesting alimony, including debts and monthly expenses.
- The potential recipient’s earning capacity. Courts may look to your work history and experience when determining your potential for earning income.
- The paying spouse’s ability to make alimony payments. Alimony might be denied if the other spouse has no ability to pay.
- How long your marriage lasted. Longer marriages may warrant greater alimony.
- The custody of arrangements of any children.
- Any business relations between the spouses. Such as being co-owners of a business or one spouse working for the other.
- Contributions made by one spouse to the skill or earning potential of the other. For example, you might get more alimony if you supported your spouse through graduate school, thereby increasing their earning potential.
- The parties’ fault in the divorce, including any behavior that significantly contributed to the end of the marriage, like abuse or infidelity.
The standard of living shared by the couple during their marriage plays heavily into alimony considerations. When spouses share a higher standard of living, the recipient spouse may be entitled to greater alimony. Generally, alimony may last no longer than the duration of the marriage. If your marriage lasted five years, you could receive alimony for no longer than five years. However, alimony may be extended if special circumstances necessitate it. Call our West Valley City divorce attorneys for help with your divorce proceedings.
Altering or Terminating Alimony in Utah
Alimony is not set in stone. According to the Utah Code § 30-3-05(10), courts have continuing jurisdiction over alimony matters and may make changes as necessary. Changes in alimony usually occur when the parties experience significant changes in their financial circumstances. A recipient may request for an increase in alimony, or the paying spouse could request a decrease in alimony or termination altogether.
Changes in income are common reasons why alimony is altered. For example, if the paying spouse retires, they can request a reduction in their alimony payments because they no longer have an income. On the other hand, if the paying spouse experiences a great increase in their income, the recipient may request that alimony be increased as the paying spouse’s ability to pay has increased.
However, courts generally do not modify alimony arrangements based on issues that did not exist at the time of the divorce. For example, a recipient spouse cannot ask for more alimony because they made bogus investments and lost all their money. That is a condition that did not exist at the time of the marriage or divorce, and the paying spouse cannot be responsible. Talk to our Utah alimony lawyers about how to modify your alimony arrangements.
Enforcing Alimony Payments in Utah
Alimony is not merely an agreement between former spouses. Alimony is an enforceable court order. Failure to pay alimony may be perceived as defiance of court orders. If your former spouse has failed to make alimony payments, you can file a motion requesting the court enforce the alimony order. The court can issue a judgment requiring your former spouse to pay all past-due alimony. The court may also hold your ex-spouse in contempt and penalize them with fines or jail time. Contact our Utah alimony lawyers about enforcing your alimony orders and getting the money owed to you.
Call Our Utah Alimony Attorneys
If you are in the process of getting a divorce, you should think about whether your need alimony to get by. Our Utah alimony attorneys can help you get alimony payments to sustain your lifestyle after a divorce. Schedule a free legal consultation with our team at Overson Law, PLLC by calling (801) 758-2287.