Utah Divorce Lawyers in Salt Lake City | Alimony

In Utah, alimony is determined by balancing one party’s need (i.e., to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or at least roughly equal to that to be enjoyed by the other party after divorce) against the other party’s ability to pay money to meet that need. Alimony is, however, generally limited by statute to a period not to exceed the duration of the marriage, and is usually ended by the death of either party, or the remarriage or unmarried cohabitation of the receiving party with a person of either gender. (Cohabitation implies a non-temporary arrangement similar to that usually seen between spouses, but without actually being married, and must be proved to the court by the paying party before he or she can actually stop paying the alimony.)

The alimony statute also provides that a court “may” consider the relative “fault” of the parties in awarding alimony. For years this was understood to mean “fault” as it pertained to the dissolution of the marriage, dissipation of marital assets, etc. However, in recent years the Utah Court of Appeals has issued some decisions stating that the Utah legislature was too vague when it drafted the fault provisions of the alimony statute; and that the courts couldn’t be sure they were applying the “fault” standard appropriately. As a result, they held that divorce courts should not consider “fault” in determining alimony — at least not until the legislature changes the statute to clarify what it means. In some subsequent cases, however, different Utah Court of Appeals judges have indicated that they might have a difference of opinion with regard to this issue, and the Utah legislature recently amended the alimony statute in an attempt to clarify how to determine and apply “fault” in this context. Thus, Utah law is currently uncertain regarding the issue of whether the relative fault of the parties may be considered when awarding or determining alimony. For more on this topic, see our December 31, 2011 blog article “Alimony in Utah; Fault or No-Fault?”

As Utah Divorce Attorneys, at J.D. Milliner & Associates we will fight to make sure that your alimony amount is fair.

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