For most couples, the process of divorce can cause financial instability. Alimony is court-ordered payment from the higher-earning spouse designed to protect the other spouse as the couple goes through the divorce process. If you earn significantly more than your spouse, it’s likely that you’ll be ordered to pay alimony. On the other hand, short marriages and marriages where the spouses incomes are almost equal will likely not be awarded alimony.
Qualifications for Spousal Support
Under Utah divorce laws, spousal support can be requested by either party. A judge will evaluate the following factors to determine the amount and duration of spousal support and maintenance:
- the financial capability of the paying spouse;
- the financial needs and situation of the supported spouse;
- the earning capacity of the supported spouse;
- the length of the marriage;
- whether the recipient spouse is working for the paying spouse; and
- whether the recipient spouse contributed to increasing the paying spouse’s income through education or job training during their marriage.
Additional factors about custodial arrangements and child support are also taken into consideration, so make sure to speak with a reliable divorce attorney to know how this can affect your case.
Duration and Termination of Alimony
Temporary alimony awarded to one party ends once the divorce is finalized by a judge. Other orders of support may have termination dates set after the divorce has been finalized, but the validity of these orders generally don’t last longer than the length of the marriage.
Alimony automatically terminates on the end date in the support order, or if the receiving spouse dies. The only instance where a paying spouse can request for early termination of alimony is if the supported spouse begins living with their new partner.
Modifications to Alimony
If you’re the paying spouse and a change in circumstances make it difficult for you to continue providing support, you may request a review and modification of the alimony award. This applies to parties who suffered an unforeseen injury or condition which renders them unable to work. If this is the case for you, make sure to speak with your divorce attorney and request a review as soon as possible, since missed alimony payments can result in serious consequences.
Payments for Alimony
Alimony payments are given periodically, usually on a monthly basis, and will include an income withholding order for the paying spouse’s employer to forward their payment directly to court. If you don’t have a steady job and you’re paying for spousal support, you may make lump-sum payments or opt for property transfer. Once you’ve completed your payments, your obligation for spousal support ends.
If your spouse refuses to make their alimony payments, you can take immediate legal action to enforce the order and receive the required payments through a contempt proceeding.
Do you have any questions about paying or receiving alimony, or have concerns regarding alimony and spousal support? Ask us your question and get answers from our experienced family law attorneys at Utah Child Custody!