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How is alimony calculated in Utah?

Utah is a state that is known for beautiful mountains, conservative politics, and a demonstrated proclivity for marriage. Recently, the state even introduced a bill to decriminalized polygamy.

Unfortunately, divorce happens everywhere and when it does, it is helpful to understand marriage and divorce laws. It is particularly important to know how alimony is determined in The Beehive State.

Alimony is a set, monthly amount of money that the court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse at the end of a marriage.

Who Gets Alimony

Generally speaking, alimony is awarded to the partner in a marriage who makes the least amount of money. Contrary to popular belief, either sex may receive alimony and the recipient of the funds must declare the income on their taxes.

The amount of money a person is expected to pay will be determined by their net income. The payer will be able to write alimony off on their taxes.

If a person receiving alimony gets married again, their alimony will end. Alimony will also end if the support recipient cohabits with their new romantic partner.

Factors that Determine Who Gets Alimony

If one person in a marriage has considerably less earning potential than another person in the marriage, and if they were married for a long while, they may receive spousal support.

A person would need to establish that they would not be able to maintain their current standard of living if they were to be financially independent. For example, if one becomes accustomed to living in a large house, but all they can afford on their own is a studio apartment, they may be awarded support, so long as the length of the marriage was significant.

Earning potential will also be taken into account when determining alimony. If a person was accustom to living on $100,000 a year, they may not reasonably be expected to make that same amount if they have a high school diploma and no job experience.

If a couple has children, it can affect the amount of alimony paid significantly. If the children would have to change school districts or even if their life would be disrupted by having to leave their current home, alimony may be awarded.

If an alimony recipient paid for their ex-spouse’s education or if they worked in a business owned by their ex-spouse, the court is likely to award them a larger amount of support than they would get under ordinary circumstances.

When Alimony May be Reduced

The ability of a person to pay alimony is taken into consideration at the end of a marriage. If a formerly wealthy person has gone bankrupt, they may not have to pay as much as they would if they were financially fluid.  If a person’s physical health has deteriorated during marriage and it has affected their ability to earn money, the amount of alimony may be significantly reduced.

How the Amount of Alimony is Determined

Generally speaking, a person will receive one year of support for every three years that they were married. However, the amount of money a person will receive is up to a judge.

When Support May be Denied

If a recipient has been unfaithful during a marriage, they may get less money than they normally would. Likewise, if the partner who is expected to pay alimony has been unfaithful, they may have to pay a higher amount.

If a couple had a prenuptial agreement that there would never be alimony, spousal support is unlikely to be awarded. Unpaid alimony may result in wage garnishment.

Hiring an Attorney

You should never get a divorce without a good attorney. Arnold, Wadsworth, & Coggins can help you and your spouse agree on an equitable support amount. Divorce is hard on families, but deciding on a fair amount of alimony can make things go smoothly and help you get on with your life.

Authoritative Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/garnishment.asp

https://www.npr.org/2020/02/12/805455196/utah-bill-decriminalizing-polygamy-clears-first-hurdle-moves-to-state-senate


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