When a couple divorces, their finances are usually split. It can be challenging to go from two incomes to one income or even worse, one income to no income. If this is the case, the parties can claim alimony. Alimony is a payment from one divorcing spouse to the other in order to maintain the marital lifestyle.

There is no cut and dry formula to determine how alimony is awarded in Utah. Alimony awards are based on need and ability to pay. This can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. This article is going to talk about how alimony works in Utah for divorcing couples.

Filing for Alimony

Each party in a divorce fills out a financial declaration form that includes taxes, income, credit card statements as well as both martial and current expenses. The parties state how much money they make, how much debt they have, and what their monthly expenses are. Parties whose expenses amount to more than their income may be awarded alimony to make up the difference.  Most of the time, an alimony award is made after the marital property has been awarded.

How Alimony is Determined by the Court

The court determines alimony by looking at several factors including:

  • the length of the marriage,
  • if there are children
  • custody arrangements

The court then looks at the receiving spouses’ ability to earn money, their financial resources, and their needs. The potential payor’s financial resources and ability to pay will also be evaluated.

What if Neither Party Can Afford to Pay Alimony?

The court can also award alimony based on an income/poverty equalization.   This is usually done when one spouse needs alimony, but the other spouse doesn’t have enough income to pay alimony and still support themselves.  In this situation, the receiving party’s monthly deficit would be split between the parties.

For example, if one party makes $1,000 a month but has expenses of $1,500, they have a deficit of $500. If the other party is also making $1,000 a month and has monthly expenses of $900, they are required to pay half of the $500 deficit to the other party ($250).

How Long Does Alimony Last for?

Utah has concrete rules about the termination of alimony.  At most, alimony can be awarded for the length of the parties’ marriage. Depending on the facts, it can be granted for a lesser amount of time or not at all based on the parties’ financial circumstances.  If either party dies or if the spouse receiving alimony remarries, alimony automatically terminates.  If the receiving spouse cohabits, the paying spouse can request to stop paying alimony.

Alimony can be modified but there must be good cause. Usually, this would be due to an extreme change in the paying party’s financial circumstances. In most cases though, the court won’t modify alimony for the receiving party.

If you’re dealing with a divorce or aren’t sure what to do about alimony, give us a call or book an appointment online. We can answer your questions or help you prepare your documents. You only pay for the legal help you need with a winning team that will coach you to success.


About the author

Angie Allen has been a paralegal for almost 20 years. When she isn’t helping clients, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two children.