UtahAlimony Guide - Spousal Support Laws
Utah Alimony Guide :: Table of Contents
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered provision of financial support a spouse for after a divorce. Alimony laws vary considerably from state to state, and courts often have significant flexibility on a case-by-case basis in determing whether to award alimony, how much alimony to award, and how long alimony payments will continue.
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In the state of Utah, during or following a divorce or legal separation, the court will consider whether either spouse is in need of alimony. The decision of the court will take into consideration a few main points and any other factors they find relevant to the specific case at hand.
Factors to be taken into consideration by the court include, but are not limited to:
- The financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
- The recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income
- The ability of the payor spouse to provide support
- The length 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
- whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse's skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or enabling the payor spouse to attend school during the marriage
The court may also take into consideration the fault of the parties involved in the divorce, including any marital misconduct or any other actions that substantially contributed to the breakup of the marriage relationship. The court will look into and consider the standard of living developed during the marriage and the contributions of both parties to that standard. Alimony may not be ordered for a duration longer than the number of years that the marriage existed unless, at any time before the end of the alimony payments, the court finds strong evidence to justify the payment of alimony for a longer period of time.
In the end, if an agreement cannot be made between the two parties, alimony is awarded at the final judgment of the judge and court deciding the case.
In the state of Utah, a number of factors are taken into account when calculating the amount and duration of alimony or spousal support payments.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating alimony?
Utah has a defined list of factors, described in statutory law, that are legally required to be considered by a judge when determining alimony payments. These factors may be directly connected to the alimony calculation formula.
Is marital fault considered in Utah alimony?
Utah considers marital fault when determining alimony payments. This means that "at-fault" divorces, which may be caused by infidelity / adultery, abuse, etc, can result in the at-fault party paying more "punitive" alimony.
Is standard of living considered in Utah alimony?
Standard of living is considered when calculating alimony payments in the state of Utah. This means that a judge will consider the lifestyle enjoyed by the alimony-receiving spouse during the duration of the marriage when determining an appropriate alimony payment amount.
Is custodial status considered when determining alimony in the state of Utah?
The judge in the state of Utah considers custodial status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children, and custodial spouses may receive higher alimony payments.
How exactly is alimony calculated in the state of Utah?
Calculation of alimony is generally done on a case-by-case basis by the Utah family court judge who is responsible for the case. While some states have a fixed alimony calculation formula, in most cases the final amount and duration of alimony awarded (if alimony is awarded) is at the discretion of the judge.
- How long must alimony be paid?
- The duration of payments is determined by a judge in Utah family court. Alimony length is usually based on length of marriage - one commonly used standard for alimony duration is that 1 year of alimony is paid every three years of marriage (however, this is not always the case in every state or with every judge). Alimony may also be discontinued upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse. In some cases, judges may even award permanent alimony.
- What happens if alimony isn't paid?
- If alimony is unpaid, the owed debt is known as alimony arrears. Arrears can be collected via mediation, small claims court, or wage garnishment. Failure to comply with a court-issued spousal support order may also result in a contempt of court charge against the spouse who failed to pay owed alimony.
- Can alimony be waived by a prenuptual agreement?
- A prenup agreement is a contract between spouses regarding marriage-related financial matters signed prior to marriage. Limitation or waiving rights to alimony is a frequent clause in modern prenuptual agreements, but some states or localities prohibit such alimony waivers.
- Can alimony be collected if you're not married?
- The legal concept of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is dependant upon a legal marriage. However, in some areas - especially those with a concept of common-law marriage - "palimony", or support payments between non-married individuals, has been awarded by courts. However, this generally requires extenuating circumstances.
- What is alimony mediation?
When a marriage ends through divorce and alimony is expected to be paid, spouses have the choice to determine an alimony agreement either through litigation (in Utah family court) or through mutual agreement. Often, a Utah alimony mediator can be brought in to help the ex-spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding alimony and other contested issues such as property division, and thus avoid having to go to court.
- How are alimony payments taxed?
On a federal level, all qualifying Utah alimony payments are deductible by the payor, and counted as taxable income by the recipient. To qualify as alimony under IRS guidelines, the following must be true:
- The payments are in cash
- The parties live in seperate households
- The payments are strictly for alimony (as opposed to for child support, etc)
Taxation of alimony varies on a state and local level. You can learn more about Utah income taxes here .