Calculating alimony is one of the most misunderstood and complex elements of any divorce in Utah. When determining alimony, the court will take into account several factors to analyze whether you are eligible to receive alimony, and if so, how much alimony you should be asking for.
Here at the Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law, we have recently received the following question from one of our readers: “I am getting divorced from my husband, who is a very wealthy individual. This divorce is something that is long overdue and yet I understand how getting divorced will impact my life from a financial point of view. I have been out of work since I became a stay-at-home mom at my husband’s request. What should I do and how much alimony can I ask for?”
How alimony is calculated in Utah?
Here is what our Salt Lake City alimony attorney has to say about this. First of all, thank you for your question. If you feel that getting divorced is the best way you out, you should certainly go for it. Although being able to afford the cost of living is a vital element of happiness, do not jeopardize your happiness by staying in an unhealthy marriage.
Luckily for you, Utah family law offers plenty of options to level the playing field for both parties after a divorce. Let’s review some of the most common factors the court will consider when calculating your alimony:
- Each spouse’s ability to provide for himself/herself;
- The needs of the spouse with lower income;
- The impact the marriage has had on the spouse’s ability to earn a living due to staying at home and/or caring for a child;
- The financial condition of the spouse with higher income and his/her ability to provide financial support for a prolonged period of time;
- The length of the marriage;
- Who has custody of a child requiring child support;
- Whether the spouse with lower income was part of the business owned or operated by the other spouse; and
- Whether the spouse with lower income contributed to an increase in the recipient spouse’s salary, the advancement of his/her career success or development of skills (for example, by encouraging to attend a school or paying for education, etc.).
“Needless to say, before asking for alimony, you will have to demonstrate proof that your former spouse has the ability to pay for it,” says our experienced alimony attorney in Salt Lake City.
Aggravating factors and fault in determining alimony
The above-mentioned factors are the standardized factors considered by the court when determining alimony. There are also certain aggravating factors that may increase the amount of alimony the payor will be ordered to pay to the recipient.
These aggravating factors include fault on the part of one of the parties. Fault refers to any of the following misconduct during the marriage that substantially contributed to the dissolution of the marriage:
- Engaging in extramarital relations with someone outside of the marriage;
- Intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm or abusing the other spouse or their child;
- Intentionally behaving in a way that makes the other spouse or their child fear for their safety; and
- Sabotaging the other spouse’s financial condition.
If any of the above-mentioned factors contributed to the divorce, the amount of alimony will increase or decrease depending on who was at fault, the payor or recipient, respectively.
How long will you be able to receive alimony?
“As a rule of thumb, the court will consider each spouse’s standard of living at the time of filing for divorce when calculating alimony,” says our Salt Lake City alimony attorney. “However, the court in Utah may choose to consider the standard of living that existed at the time of trial.”
One of the most frequently asked questions about alimony in Utah is, “How long will I be able to receive alimony after a divorce?” As a general rule, you will not be able to receive alimony for a duration longer than the duration of the marriage. However, the court may extend the duration of alimony in certain circumstances, especially if the recipient’s fault contributed to the dissolution of marriage.
Do you have more questions about alimony in Utah? Contact Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law, and get a legal consultation today. Call at 801-804-5152 or complete this contact form.