Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

What does a court consider in deciding whether to award alimony?

Salt Lake City spouses depend on one another for many things. Whether it is financial, emotional or other kinds of support, spouses tend to rely on each other over their years of marriage. Accordingly, when the spouses decide to get a divorce, it can present some serious challenges for a spouse who was heavily dependent on the other spouse.

Fortunately, when it comes to financial matters, there are options to provide a spouse with relief in the divorce process. An award of alimony can be a much needed financial lifeline for the spouse who relied on the other for financial support.

There are a number of factors considered by a court in determining whether to award alimony and how much alimony should be awarded. Typically, the court will examine the financial condition of the parties, including the finances of the spouse who would receive alimony to determine what need exists. The court would also look at the recipient's income, whether from employment or other sources.

On the other hand, the court will also analyze the ability of the other spouse to make payment. Once again, the court will look at that spouse's income from all sources.

Aside from strict financial considerations, the court will also examine other factors in determining whether to award alimony. These factors include the length of the marriage, which spouse has custody of any children from the marriage and whether the recipient allowed the other spouse to attend school during the marriage. In addition, the court may also consider whether one party was at fault for the end of the marriage in determining whether to award alimony.

Accordingly, there are a wide variety of factors that will be examined in the alimony determination. Each case is thus different because of the different facts that will be involved.

Source: Utah Courts, "Alimony," accessed on May 1, 2015

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