Whether you chose to end your marriage after years of consideration or if your spouse surprised you when they suggested a divorce, the steps to legally separate your life together are difficult. One of the most complicated parts of that process is determining alimony. Very simply, alimony is the payment one former spouse makes to the other to allow both to live comfortably.
Under Utah state law, you should expect to continue a lifestyle similar to the one you had during your marriage after your divorce. Usually, that means that the spouse who makes more money is ordered to pay an amount to their former partner. Unlike child support, which is determined using an official table in Utah, alimony can vary widely depending on your income and spending habits.
That’s why it’s so important to have a practiced Utah attorney who knows how to handle alimony in Utah. At Christensen Law, we have ample experience helping Utah citizens navigate all of the logistics of divorce. We’ll work with you to be sure your alimony is fair. The information on this page may answer some of your questions, but only a dedicated lawyer can tell you exactly how alimony will work for you. You can begin by meeting with us for a no-obligation consultation. Call us at (801) 303-5800 to schedule one today.
How Does Alimony in Utah Work?
First, one of the spouses has to ask for it. Utah state law defines alimony as, “the court-ordered allowance that one party pays to the other party for support while they are separated, in the process of getting divorced, or after they are divorced.” Your alimony could either be agreed to by both parties outside of court, or it could be ordered by a judge or commissioner.
Usually, the goal of alimony is to allow both former spouses to continue living at a similar “standard of living at the time of separation.” If your marriage was quite short, the court may instead set the standard of living by assessing your situation at the beginning of your marriage. Our alimony lawyers can advise you whether that may apply to you.
The amount of alimony you can expect to pay or receive can be confusing if you’re trying to understand it for the first time. You can’t reference a table, look up your income, and know exactly what to expect. Instead, you need a thorough accounting of both your former spouse’s and your own income, assets, debts, and expenses. That requires a lot of careful legwork, which we’re prepared to do.
Once you know both your income and your expenses, you can ask to receive the difference. So, if you usually spend about $3,000 a month, but only make $2,500, you can ask for $500 in alimony. The numbers could scale up or scale down, but under the law, you generally can’t successfully ask for more than your proven expenses.
That sounds simple enough, but really there are a number of other factors that can affect alimony. For example, a judge may take into account a spouse’s behavior, like abuse or adultery. If you have children, child support will also affect the calculations. If one of the spouses stayed home to take care of their children, the alimony may take into account “the impact of diminished workplace experience.”
Confusion and uncertainty can be cleared up with one good choice. You need a trustworthy Salt Lake City alimony lawyer. Our attorneys at Christensen Law can evaluate your divorce and explain to you the alimony options you have.
Your Alimony Options
During your divorce proceedings, you may be presented with alimony options that could be advantageous or disadvantageous to you. For example, you might trade some of your alimony payment for a share or for all of some marital property, like your home or retirement accounts. We can look at the whole financial picture and tell you what would be best for you.
Alimony can be paid in lump sum or in monthly installments. We’ll figure out if it would be good for you to accept such an offer. When you hire Christensen Law, we’ll dedicate ourselves to finding out what’s in your interest. With full information at hand, you can feel confident about your alimony decisions.
Common Utah Alimony Questions
How long will my alimony last?
In Utah, your alimony usually can’t last longer than your marriage did. If you were married for a year, you can expect only one year of alimony. If you were together for thirty years, the judge could set the alimony to expire in thirty years.
What if my ex’s income changes?
It depends. If the payor’s income changes significantly, like if they retire, lose their job, or otherwise take a significant pay cut, they may be able to petition to modify the alimony. Utah requires the party to document a “substantial material changes in circumstances” to start this process. It is best for all involved to try to anticipate this as much as possible the first time around.
Can I be in a committed relationship and still get alimony?
Again, it depends. Usually, you can’t receive alimony and cohabitate with a new partner. You may be able to have a committed relationship of some sort, but you’d need to avoid living with them or marrying them to continue receiving alimony.
Do I have to pay alimony if my ex gets remarried?
Alimony terminates when the recipient gets remarried. This almost always happens automatically.
Contact Christensen Law
Given the many factors you have to take into account when you calculate alimony, it’s crucial that you have a Utah alimony lawyer on your side. At Christensen Law, all of our attorneys have experience in Utah courts and know how to advocate vigorously for you. If you’re just beginning your divorce, we’re ready to assist with that too. On the other hand, if you’ve been dealing with alimony for years and need help with modifying or enforcing your orders, we’re prepared to advise you.
You deserve zealous, qualified advice. We’re ready to provide it. Contact Christensen Law at (801) 303-5800 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.