At Red Law of Ogden, Utah, we have represented clients on both sides of this issue: those who have had to pay alimony and those who have received alimony payments. We understand that alimony can be a fiercely contested issue in divorce cases–it can be a burden for the spouse paying it, but a lifeboat for the spouse receiving it. No matter what the facts of your case are, we will vigorously defend your best interests.
How does the Court Decide if Alimony will be Ordered?
Often the issue of alimony is settled in negotiations, and is closely intertwined with things like the division of personal property, the division of retirement funds, child support, and the division of debts. However, it’s important to note that in Utah alimony is never granted automatically. The courts will consider a number of factors, including:
- The living standards of the couple before they were separated;
- The financial needs of the spouse seeking alimony;
- The ability of the other spouse to pay alimony;
- The earning capacity, or ability to produce income (i.e. employable skills), of the spouse seeking alimony;
- The length of the marriage;
- Whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children that require support;
- Whether the spouse seeking alimony contributed to the other spouse’s vocational skills (i.e. one spouse stayed home to take care of the family while the other spouse went to school or received special training; one spouse worked to pay for the other spouse’s school or training, and now that other spouse makes a disproportionate amount of income);
- Whether one of the parties engaged in wrongful conduct during the marriage that led to the couple’s divorce, such as (1) having sexual relations with another person; (2) knowingly and intentionally causing physical harm to the other party, or the couple’s minor children; (3) threatening the other party or the couple’s minor children with physical harm; (4) causing financial hardship to the other party or the minor children.
How Much Alimony will be Awarded?
There is no hard and fast rule that courts follow to determine the amount of alimony that will be paid to the receiving spouse. The factors listed above guide the court’s decision. However, courts will not typically award the receiving spouse more alimony than is needed to meet the spouse’s needs, even if the paying spouse can afford it.
When Can I start Receiving Alimony?
A party does not necessarily have to wait until the court enters the decree of divorce before they can start receiving alimony. A spouse may request that the court enter a temporary order which would force the other spouse to pay alimony soon after a divorce is requested. If a spouse does not request temporary orders, they will have to wait until the divorce process is finalized before they start receiving alimony payments.
When Does Alimony Stop?
There are three main scenarios that will result in the termination of any more alimony payments:
- Alimony may not be awarded for a duration longer than the number of years that the marriage existed unless there are extenuating circumstances. Therefore, if the divorcing couple was married for 10 years, alimony will typically not be awarded for longer than 10 years.
- If the party that is paying alimony can establish that the individual receiving alimony is living with a significant other all alimony payments will be terminated.
- If the spouse receiving alimony gets married all alimony payments will be terminated.