Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Understanding how alimony is awarded in Utah

At the end of a marriage in Utah, there is often a question as to whether one former spouse will be ordered to pay alimony to the other. This can be a frequent issue up for dispute. With any divorce, it is important that the participants understand alimony and who can ask for and receive it. The husband or the wife is allowed, under Utah law, to request alimony. It can be ordered on a temporary basis while the case is pending or for an extended period after the divorce is completed.

The following factors are taken into consideration when the court decides whether to grant alimony: the financial state and necessities of the party who would be the recipient of the payments including debts and the ability to pay them, the earning capacity of the recipient including work history, whether he or she is able to work and income received from other sources and the ability on the part of the supporting spouse to pay alimony.

Other factors include how long the couple was married (the longer the couple was married, the more viable it is that alimony will be provided), if the person receiving alimony has children that need to be supported, if the person receiving alimony was employed at a business that was owned or operated by the former spouse and if the person receiving the alimony was a contributor to the other spouse's ability to earn money by paying for skills or education.

The fault of particular parties in the end of a marriage can be taken into consideration. "Fault" will be defined as sexual relations with someone outside the marriage, causing physical harm to the other party or minor children intentionally and undermining the other person's financial stability. The court will look at the standard of living when the couple separated. Alimony will not be provided for a term that is longer than the marriage unless there is a legitimate reason for it. It will terminate on the remarriage or death of the person receiving it. If the recipient lives with another person, it will also stop, but this must be proven to the court.

Those who are divorcing should know the circumstances under which alimony is awarded in the divorce agreement. Speaking to a legal professional can help with preparing for a case when it comes to alimony and other aspects of a divorce.

Source:, "Who can get alimony?," accessed on March 21, 2016

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