If your marriage ended with you or your spouse slamming the door, and you earn more than your spouse, you will most likely be ordered to pay your spouse alimony in case of a divorce.
Many of our readers ask our Salt Lake City alimony attorney Emy A. Cordano the following question: “Are there any legal ways to avoid paying alimony in case of a divorce in Utah?”
How does alimony work in Utah?
If that’s your question, then there is only one answer: “If you want to avoid paying alimony, also known as spousal support, but it’s clear from your circumstances that you will be ordered to pay alimony, then there’s most likely no legally and equitably valid ways you can prevent having to pay alimony.”
That is because Utah laws are very strict when it comes to ordering alimony when one of the spouses has the ability to support himself or herself financially month to month and has some surplus money to share with his/her spouse. That, of course, if the other spouse can prove that he or she is unable to support himself/herself financially month to month.
Despite this, payor spouses (the spouses ordered to pay alimony) still look for legal ways to avoid paying spousal support. And more often than not, their attempts to avoid being ordered to pay alimony to come up empty. This is especially true if the spouse by an experienced alimony attorney in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah.
Illegal and legal ways to avoid paying alimony in Utah
More likely than not, a spouse may attempt to either falsely appear impoverished or even voluntarily impoverish himself or herself (by voluntarily quitting their job shortly before or after divorce) in order to avoid paying alimony. But such attempts to avoid paying spousal support are illegal in Utah and will not get you far.
Still, there might be legal options available to avoid having to pay alimony to your spouse in Utah:
- The financial condition and needs of your spouse do not meet the required threshold under Utah law;
- Your spouse’s earning capacity allows him or her to earn a living and produce income on their own;
- Your spouse’s work is not affected by her or his need to care for your children;
- You do not have the ability to provide alimony (there is no surplus money in your month to month income);
- You were not married for very long;
- Your spouse does not have custody of the child requiring support;
- Your marriage ended because of your spouse’s fault (having an affair with or engaging in a sexual relationship with another person, knowingly and intentionally causing, threatening, or attempting to cause physical harm to the other party or your child, substantially undermining the financial stability of you or your family during the marriage); or
- Your spouse is cohabiting with another person, who has the ability to satisfy your spouse’s financial needs.