Understanding Alimony in Utah Divorce Cases

A Utah divorce can result in financial instability for one or both ex-spouses. The divorce court can consider an award of alimony to alleviate the adverse effects of divorce on the ex-spouse who has the lesser ability to support him/herself. In a nutshell, the court considers one spouse’s financial need versus the other spouse’s ability to pay money to meet that need.

Also referred to as spousal support, alimony is an allowance that one ex-spouse pays to the other – and the legal considerations underlying alimony are highly complex. An experienced Utah divorce attorney is your best resource for legal advice regarding alimony, but for the basics on court-ordered spousal support, take a look at the following:

Who Can Request Alimony in Utah?

In Utah, alimony is not gender-specific – either party can request spousal support. However, the divorce court won’t award alimony to someone who is able to support him or herself to the same level enjoyed during the marriage, or at least to the same level enjoyed by the other spouse post-divorce.

How Do Judges Make Decisions on Alimony?

While some states have a fixed formula for calculating the amount and duration of spousal support payments, Utah divorce courts make determinations on a case-by-case basis, attempting to do equity to the spouses under the facts of the case. A range of factors are considered, including the financial resources and earning capacities of both parties, the length of the marriage, the standard of living at the time of separation and the relative fault of the parties in causing the relationship to end.

How Long Does Alimony Last in Utah?

In Utah, an award of alimony generally cannot last longer than the length of the marriage itself – absent extraordinary circumstances. In some Utah divorce cases, alimony is ordered to last for a period equal to that of the marriage. In others, spousal support may be temporary, or “rehabilitative,” and last just long enough to allow the recipient to get in a better financial position. Permanent alimony is almost never awarded, and judges generally consider it only when one party is disabled or has a medical condition that precludes them from becoming financially self-sufficient.

Does Alimony Automatically Stop?

Unless a Utah divorce decree specifically states otherwise, alimony automatically ends upon the remarriage or death of the receiving spouse. Alimony also stops when the paying spouse proves to the satisfaction of the court that the receiving spouse has cohabited with another person. “Cohabitation” requires much more than just spending the night, or the weekend, together, and can be difficult to prove. To terminate alimony based on cohabitation, you will want to retain the services of a good Utah divorce lawyer.


Alimony is an important issue in many Utah divorce cases, and quite often it is a bitter point of contention. Anyone facing the end of a marriage that may involve spousal support would be wise to consult with an experienced local divorce lawyer – like the team at J. D. Milliner and Associates.

Our attorneys are dedicated legal professionals with extensive expertise in complex spousal support concerns. We have what it takes to handle your divorce case, protecting your rights and making sure you reach a fair resolution. For answers to your questions about alimony, contact our Salt Lake City, or our Orem, Utah office and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced Utah divorce lawyers today.

NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney directly to obtain legal advice.

Call Now
JD Milliner