How Do You Qualify for Alimony?

For some couples, divorce can lead to financial strain. Alimony is awarded in certain divorce cases to protect one spouse in the event he/she requires financial assistance. To qualify for alimony in Utah, you must meet certain criteria. Additionally, your spouse must be able to afford alimony payments. As alimony is considered gender-neutral in Utah, either spouse can request support payments during their divorce proceedings. Today, we review how to qualify for alimony payments and the factors that impact these awards.

What Factors Are Taken into Consideration Before Awarding Alimony?

When considering a request for alimony, Utah courts will evaluate the following factors:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • Financial condition and needs of the supported spouse
  • Paying spouse’s ability to pay for spousal support while maintaining financial independence
  • Whether the supported spouse contributed to the paying spouse’s education or job training during the marriage
  • Whether the supported spouse worked for a business owned or operated by the paying spouse
  • If the supported spouse is the custodial parent of a child who requires child support

The court can also consider a spouse’s martial misconduct when determining whether to award an alimony payment. Utah courts do take fault into account when making these types of decisions. Fault may include adultery, violence, or substance abuse. The courts cannot use alimony to punish a misbehaving spouse though, so fault is considered within limited circumstances.

Once the court determines alimony is appropriate, alimony duration will be set. As alimony is intended to be temporary while the recipient takes the time to become financial sufficient again, it will not continue indefinitely. The length of alimony is dependent on the length of the marriage. Often, alimony cannot last longer than the duration of the marriage itself.

Meeting the Alimony Requirements

Alimony is awarded to ensure both spouses can maintain a lifestyle that they are comfortable with, or one that is as close to their accustomed standard of living as possible. To meet the requirements of an alimony award, there must be a discrepancy in the recipient’s lifestyle between their life at the time of separation and after separation. The court will refer to the standard of living that existed at the time of separation to see if an alimony award should be granted. This is only one fact, however; and the court will also take the above factors into consideration as well.

Is There a Formula in Utah Used to Calculate Alimony?

Unlike child support, there is no formula to refer to when calculating alimony in a divorce. A judge will consider the factors listed above as well as any other relevant information it deems appropriate to the case. You and your spouse can negotiate the terms of your alimony agreement collaboratively if you wish and present it to a judge for approval.

How Long Must You be Married to Receive Alimony?

There is not a standard to how long you must be married to receive alimony payments in Utah. Sometimes the court will require a marriage to be considered long term before awarding alimony. Other times the court may award alimony if the couple has only been married for about a year.

Secure an Initial Consultation with an Experienced Attorney at Our Firm

Trusted and respected by our community, our reputable attorneys provide attentive and professional family law services to clients in the Salt Lake City, UT area, and surrounding neighborhoods. If you need assistance determining how alimony may impact your divorce proceeding, do not hesitate to contact our firm. We put our clients first, always. Our firm offers a first-time, complimentary consultation.

Contact our office online or call us at (801) 901-7046 to get started on your family law case today.