Oftentimes when spouses separate one of the spouses is left without the resources necessary to be self-supporting or maintain the standard of living enjoyed during marriage. Where appropriate, a Utah Court may order one party to financially support the party in need, either on a temporary basis or a long-term basis. This payment of support from one spouse to another is called “alimony.” The party seeking alimony bears the burden of proof to show the court that an alimony award is appropriate.
Generally, in order for an alimony award to be found appropriate, one spouse must be able to prove that he or she has a financial need for support and that the other spouse has a financial ability to pay the support, with the overall goal of the Court to preserve the standard of living that both parties enjoyed during the marriage. Other factors that a court may consider in determining whether alimony is appropriate are:
a.) the length of the marriage
b.) whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support
c.) whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse; and
d.) whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse's skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or allowing the payor spouse to attend school during the marriage.
In addition, the Court may also consider the “fault” of a party when assessing alimony. That is, the Court may consider the fairness of requiring an alimony award in light of facts proving that one spouse or the other caused or contributed to the break of the marriage, such as by infidelity or abuse. However, you should keep in mind that most courts place far less emphasis on the fault of one of the parties than upon the actual relative financial need and ability of the respective parties.
If you are going through a divorce and are either in need of legal help in obtaining financial support from your spouse, or are in need of help in defending against an unreasonable or unjustifiable claim for support, we can provide you with the skilled and experienced representation that you need.