Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates
Salt Lake City – Ogden
Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates

Salt Lake City – Ogden

We Fight To Win

Experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorneys Serving All of Utah

How Many Years of Alimony Can You Expect to Receive in the State of Utah?

Alimony or spousal support may be granted in divorces in Utah. For example, when one party is found to be a victim of unfair treatment by the other spouse, the court may step in to order support. There are rules, however, that determine how long such support can be paid or received. This article looks at what these rules say.

Financial vulnerability is common following a divorce. In Utah, the family law code includes provisions to help protect those who come out of a marriage with either no employment, or a job that makes them too little money. In these cases, the court may order alimony or spousal support — during the divorce, and after.

Under what circumstances are you eligible for alimony?

In Utah, your gender isn’t a criterion when it comes to qualifying for alimony. Both male and female spouses are able to petition the court for spousal support. The court looks at a number of details when it determines what kind of alimony is to be paid, how much, and for how long.

Judges overseeing divorce cases often consider the following factors in their determinations:

  • The financial circumstances and needs of the party seeking support.
  • The capacity of the paying spouse to pay while remaining financially solvent.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The presence of children in the custody of the spouse seeking support.
  • The question of whether the spouse seeking support works for the paying spouse.
  • The question of who was at fault in the dissolution of the marriage.

Divorces can be granted on fault-based grounds in the state of Utah. This means that spouses in a marriage can seek divorce by charging adultery, abuse, or actions that cause financial damage.

The fact that a spouse is at fault in one of these ways, however, cannot be used against them in determining alimony. Spousal support is not applied as a tool of punishment. However, the court can determine that an at-fault spouse has caused so much damage to the other spouse that financial support would be required to help the victim carry on with their life. The quantum of support granted usually depends on the standard of living of the couple at the time of divorce. In cases of marriages of short duration, however, the standard of living at the beginning of the marriage could be taken into account.

How long can you receive alimony in Utah?

In nearly every case, the period of time for which alimony is granted depends on how long the marriage has lasted. A common formula applied, for example, grants a year of alimony for every three years that a marriage has lasted. Alimony is rarely granted for periods lasting longer than the marriage itself. It can happen, but only in specific circumstances when the evidence points to the necessity of such a determination.

Alimony may also be terminated if a spouse receiving support marries again, or even when they begin an arrangement of cohabitation with a different partner.

The laws determining alimony tend to be complex, and the outcome of any such case can affect the lives of the parties involved for years. For anyone seeking or paying spousal support, heading in on a sound legal footing with the help of an experienced attorney can make a huge difference.