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Utah Alimony

Under Utah law, the court may award alimony to either spouse. The court will examine the circumstances in the case, including whether either party’s behavior caused the marital failure.

Alimony may be granted on a temporary basis as well as permanently after entry of the divorce decree. The longer the marriage, the more likely alimony will be awarded.

Utah courts determine alimony on a case-by-case basis by looking at the financial situation of each spouse. The courts generally compare the earning capacities.

The court requests a financial statement from both spouses to assess their financial needs and conditions. The court then examines the income and debts of the payor spouse. These factors are crucial in determining if alimony will be awarded, and how much alimony the recipient receives.

The court considers the expenses and cost of the lifestyle the requesting party enjoyed in the marriage.

Alimony may be reviewed and modified if the parties’ conditions change. Alimony terminates automatically upon remarriage or cohabitation by the recipient. The party seeking modification due to change of circumstances must provide proof of changed circumstances.

The court may consider the marital misconduct of the parties - fault - in determining alimony.

Except in unusual circumstances, Utah courts do not order alimony for a period that exceeds the length of the marriage. The court considers the standard of living that existed at separation. For short marriages with no children, the court may consider the standard of living that existed when the marriage began.

A party who pays alimony is allowed to claim the payments as a deduction on federal tax forms. The party receiving alimony is required to claim it as income on federal tax forms.

Types of Alimony

Courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. Long-term, or permanent, alimony may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Factors Considered by the Court

Alimony in Utah is discretionary. According to the Utah Code - Sections: 30-3-3, 30-3-5, the court considers at least the following factors in determining the length of time and amount of alimony to be awarded:

  • the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse;
  • the earning capacity or income potential;
  • the reasonability of the paying spouse to pay;
  • the duration 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 payor spouse; and
  • whether the desiring spouse contributed to the earning capacity of the paying spouse.

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