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How alimony works in Utah

Divorce brings many concerns, especially financial ones. How much will the divorce cost? How will you pay for it? Will you be able to support yourself on one income? A primary source of help or obligation may be alimony, or spousal support.

While the judge will order child support if children are involved, alimony is not a guarantee for every couple. Here is what you need to know about how Utah courts determine and manage alimony.

Who gets alimony?

Multiple factors go into the decision to award alimony. An influential one is how long the marriage lasted. The longer you were together, the more likely the spouse who is asking for alimony will receive it. Another important consideration is the financial stability of the asking spouse (recipient), such as earning capacity and monthly debts. Other factors include the following:

  • Who has custody of the children
  • Whether the spouse can afford to pay support to the recipient
  • What contributions the recipient made to the other spouse's educational and professional achievements
  • If fault (adultery or abuse) was a relevant factor in the divorce

How long does alimony last?

The length of alimony also depends on the above factors. However, it cannot exceed how many years you were married except under special circumstances. In addition, spousal support can be mandatory during a separation, during the divorce process and/or after the divorce. It can end earlier than the appointed time if the recipient dies or remarries. Cohabitation of the recipient also terminates alimony, but the payer has to file a petition within a year from becoming aware of this fact and must prove the existence of the cohabitation to the court.

Can alimony change?

Modifications are permissible for either party, but the situation must meet certain requirements. If the payer does not make payments, the court may enforce the order and request back payments along with fines. 

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