The divorce process is not so much about what happened in the past, but what you can do now to provide for a secure future. Disputes over alimony, or spousal support, make this abundantly clear. An improper award of alimony, either too much or too little, can unjustly enrich one spouse at the expense of the other. At Skabelund Wirig & Loos, our divorce attorneys are determined to see you reach an appropriate result on the alimony issue, either through a negotiated settlement or by litigating the issue in court.
In Utah, either spouse can request support of the other. Alimony cannot last longer than the marriage did, and that support terminates automatically upon the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient. The recipient’s cohabitation is also grounds for termination, but the supporting ex-spouse must go to court to get a termination order.
When deciding whether and how much alimony to award, the court takes into account any factor it considers relevant, including:
The point of alimony is to prevent an unfair disparity in standard of living after the marriage ends.
The supporting ex-spouse can petition for a modification of alimony if there is a substantial change in financial circumstances. This generally means a financial setback for the payer and a windfall for the recipient. However, a supporting party cannot voluntarily earn less income simply to escape alimony obligations.
Recipients have a hard time getting increases in payments through a modification. The court will not consider the recipient’s personal circumstances unless they existed at the time of the divorce decree or there is a special reason for consideration. If, however, the recipient can prove the supporting ex-spouse committed fraud at the time of the decree, the court may grant a hearing.
This is an area where our experienced Orem family lawyers can help, by asking the court to include contingencies into the original alimony order. For example, if one of the spouses has a latent health problem that could conceivably worsen, affecting their earning ability, the court should know about it.
When a supporting ex-spouse does not meet his or her alimony obligations, the recipient can go to court to have the order enforced. The courts have many tools at their disposal, ranging from wage garnishment to incarceration, to compel payment.
When you are facing divorce, the court’s alimony order is one of the major factors impacting your financial security. At Skabelund Wirig & Loos, our divorce lawyers pay meticulous attention to every detail of your case so you can get the most favorable terms possible. To speak with a knowledgeable alimony attorney, call 801-788-4447 or contact our Orem office online to schedule a free consultation.