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Salt Lake City Attorneys Help Utahns Navigate Spousal Support in Divorce

Factors the court considers including length of marriage, domestic violence and adultery

Outside child custody, child support and the division of property, the issue of alimony is a hot button in many divorces. Also known as spousal support, alimony in Utah may be requested by either party. Though it is usually announced in your divorce decree, it also may be awarded temporarily while your divorce proceeds. Our attorneys at Huntsman | Lofgran know the ins and outs of spousal support and aggressively represent your best interests before the court.

Alimony is not forever

In Utah the duration of alimony, with few exceptions, cannot exceed the length of the marriage. If a couple has been married for a period of, say, 20 years, the divorce court may well decide to award alimony for 20 years. If a couple has been married two years and have no children, the court may well argue neither spouse has a right to alimony.

A formalized marriage is not a prerequisite for an alimony award. Our attorneys at Huntsman | Lofgran have seen Utah courts award alimony for divorcing spouses of common-law marriages as well.

The court typically determines alimony based on a couple’s standard of living at the time of separation, considering such factors as:

  • The financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse
  • The recipient’s earning capacity or ability to produce income
  • The ability of the paying spouse to provide support
  • If the recipient spouse has custody of minor children who require support
  • If the recipient spouse has worked in a business owned or operated by the paying spouse
  • If the recipient spouse has directly contributed to any increase in the paying spouse’s skills, whether by paying for education received by the paying spouse or by allowing the paying spouse to attend school during the marriage

Adultery can preclude alimony and cohabitation can terminate it

If the court finds that adultery or domestic violence was the primary cause for divorce, the adulterer or abuser is not eligible to receive alimony.

Further, alimony payments can be terminated the moment the court is presented with evidence that the recipient spouse has moved in with a paramour and benefits financially from the new living arrangements. (If the spouse remarries, alimony automatically stops.)

As with child custody and child support, alimony payments may be modified as financial circumstances change for either spouse.

Spousal support tax considerations

Utah follows the IRS structure for taxing alimony. The paying spouse may deduct spousal support in calculating their adjusted gross income. The spouse receiving alimony must declare the amount received as income.

Get a legal team that serves all of Utah and is dedicated to representing your alimony arguments

Alimony is not a given in Utah — it must be requested and then substantiated. At Huntsman | Lofgran in Salt Lake City, our legal team knows which arguments ring truest for the courts and we are adept at defusing counterarguments. To learn more about how we can help advance your spousal support claim, call us at 801-474-0031 or contact us online today.