How Do You Calculate Alimony In Utah?
Alimony may be awarded in divorce cases where one spouse does not earn enough money to meet his or her monthly expenses based on the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage. Relevant factors the court considers are:
- The financial condition and needs of the party who would receive alimony. This includes the recipient’s monthly debts and obligations, and their ability to pay these debts.
- The recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income. This includes past employment history, ability or inability to work and income received from all sources, including passive income. This also includes the impact of diminished workplace experience resulting from primarily caring for a child of the paying spouse.
- The ability of the paying spouse to provide support. This includes income from all sources weighed against their debts and obligations. As a general rule, debts may not be incurred to defeat alimony.
- The length of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the stronger the case for alimony.
- Whether the recipient party has custody of minor children who need 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 paying for their education or by allowing them to attend school during the marriage.
- The court may also consider the fault of the parties in determining whether to award alimony and its terms. “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 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; or
- substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor children.
Generally, in determining alimony, the court considers the parties’ standard of living at the time of separation. In short marriages with no children, the court may consider the standard of living when the marriage began. Sometimes, the court will try to equalize the parties’ standards of living.
Alimony may not be ordered for a period longer than the length of the marriage, unless there are special reasons for doing so, and alimony automatically terminates upon the remarriage or death of the recipient. Alimony also terminates if the recipient cohabitates with another person, but the other spouse cannot just stop paying alimony. They must first prove the cohabitation to the court.
The Court starts by examining the requesting spouse’s earning potential and reasonable living expenses. If there is a shortfall there, the court examines the other spouse’s earning capacity and living expenses. If one spouse has a significant shortfall and the other spouse is running a surplus an alimony award is likely. But if both sides are able to satisfy their living expenses then an alimony award is unlikely. Often the harsh reality of divorce is there is not enough money to go around so both spouses can live the same as they did before (minus their unpleasant ex-spouse). In cases where both spouses are running a deficit the court may “equalize their poverty.” That means that if spouse A is running $500 in the red each month and spouse B is $300 in the red, B could be ordered to pay A $100 per month in alimony so they are each having to make do with the same deficit each month.
Give the experienced alimony attorneys at Wiser Family Law a call today at 855-254-2600 to discuss your alimony case.