One of the complicated issues in the divorce process is the subject of spousal support or alimony. Alimony is the payment that one spouse makes to another, either through court order or by a mutual agreement of the parties. There are many opinions and misconceptions associated with the subject when it comes to alimony. Here are some of the common myths about alimony in Utah from our Salt Lake City family law attorney, Emy Cordano.
Women Are The Only Partners Who Are Entitled to Alimony
Alimony is not based on gender. One of the most common misconceptions is that only women can receive alimony in a divorce. Although men traditionally did not receive maintenance based on earning more income, men are also entitled to receive alimony in a divorce settlement. If the woman makes a higher income than her former spouse, or, there are other factors leading to the destruction of the marriage, the man can receive alimony too.
Alimony is Automatically Awarded to The Spouse Who Earns Less in The Marriage
Many spouses believe that they are automatically entitled to their former spouse’s income in a divorce settlement if their spouse is the breadwinner or earns more than they do. The courts do not automatically award alimony. Instead, the courts use three factors to determine whether alimony should be awarded to a former spouse.
The first factor involves the need of the recipient spouse.; If the spouse cannot maintain the standard of living that the parties were accustomed to during the marriage, they may be eligible for alimony.
The second factor involves the ability of the recipient spouse to earn money.
The third factor involves the payor spouse’s ability to pay the alimony. If the breadwinner spouse cannot pay after paying monthly expenses or other expenses like child support, the spouse making more money may not have to pay alimony.
Spouses Who Receive Child Support Cannot Receive Alimony as Well
Spouses who are awarded child support are also entitled to receive alimony. Although child support can decrease the spouse’s need for alimony, the courts may determine that the spouse needs additional support after child support has been paid. The amount of child support payments is not always enough to financially support a child, increasing the need for alimony.
The Courts do Not Use Fault as a Determining Factor For Awarding Alimony
Utah is a state that considers fault as a factor for how much money can be awarded in alimony. The courts have the discretion to decide whether issues such as adultery or desertion, physical abuse, addiction/s, and wasting resources should be factored into receiving alimony. However, the courts do not allow spouses to use fault to punish their partners and request alimony.
Alimony is a Permanent Award in a Divorce Settlement
In Utah, spouses awarded alimony can receive alimony up to the number of years that the marriage lasted. A spouse in a marriage for ten years can receive alimony for up to ten years. However, there may be certain extenuating circumstances, such as children with special needs and other types of special circumstances that may extend the period of alimony payments.
Contact Our Salt Lake City Alimony Attorney, Emy Cordano, Today
This is a difficult, complex, and highly litigated area of the law. Therefore, it is critical that if any of these scenarios apply to you, you contact a specialist like Emy Cordano. She will ensure that these issues are raised in a legally appropriate manner in your divorce. Most attorneys skip a few steps and the evidence is lost. If you have concerns about paying alimony or receiving alimony, our knowledgeable team will work tirelessly to represent your best interests and protect your future. Emy Cordano has more than 22 years of experience in Utah courts. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your unique marital circumstances by clicking here or calling our office.