Divorce attorneys in Salt Lake City get all types of questions from their clients. Among the most common is how Utah courts calculate alimony. It may seem like an easy question. But the answers are not always simple. Spousal support is one of the most complex and delicate issues in family law. To explain it in simple terms, it basically comes down two major factors–time and need.
First, it is important to understand the concept of alimony and why it exists. Alimony is a legal remedy designed to help a financially weaker spouse get back on their feet after divorce. When couples have been married for a long time, it can be easy to become accustomed to a certain lifestyle. But if one party has been financially dependant on the other for several years, they may require spousal support to maintain the same lifestyle after divorce. The court is unlikely to grant alimony in cases involving a short marriage. The court usually rules in favor of alimony in marriages that last exceeded five years in length. It is also important to understand that spousal support only lasts for the length of the marriage. If a couple was married for eight years, the financially weaker spouse can expect to receive alimony for the same amount of time.
The second and perhaps more complex factor for courts to determine is need. The court will examine the financial status of the spouse who makes less money. If the spouse’s expenditures exceed their income, the court is very likely to grant alimony. However, the court will also examine the finances of the financially stronger spouse. Although the level of income is important, they must also factor the amount of expenses to determine whether they can afford to pay spousal support.
Here is a common scenario. John and Andrea are Salt Lake City residents who were married for 7 years and have a son. John earns $25 per hour, while Andrea makes $15 per hour. If you do the math, Andrea’s net income comes out to around $2,100 a month. She has several monthly expenses that add up to around $3,100 per month. Meanwhile, John is pulling in $3,600 a month from his engineering job. However, his expenses are approximately the same as Andrea’s. After evaluating their financial situation, it is clear Andrea has a need of $1,000 a month. Under this scenario, John would have to pay $500 of alimony to Andrea for 7 years.
But not all divorces are the same. In many cases, there simply is not enough money to cover all expenses and payments. To help make alimony simple, the law requires alimony to be capped by the spouse’s ability pay–regardless of whether the need is greater than the ability to pay.
If you are planning to file for divorce, it is important to understand all of your rights. Among The most important concerns spousal support.
Whether you are expecting to pay or receive alimony, it is vital to have an experienced Salt Lake City divorce attorney that can properly explain and protect your rights. For nearly two decades, attorney Emy A. Cordano has helped countless men and women with alimony issues. She and her legal staff work diligently both in the courtroom and behind the scenes to help place each client in the best position to succeed. To learn more, contact her law office today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.