Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Receiving spousal support after a divorce

The process of getting a divorce may be one of the most difficult times in your life. In addition to the emotional stress, you may be concerned with staying afloat financially, especially if you were not the "breadwinner" in your marriage. If you did not work outside the home during your marriage, it may be difficult to get back into the working world as a newly single person.

Utah courts recognize the challenges that come with this and may award you alimony, or "spousal support," in the divorce. Every month, your spouse will pay you a certain amount of spousal support to help you get back on your feet after the divorce. Generally, the court will consider the income and assets of each spouse, as well as their earning capacities, standard of living and duration of the marriage to determine how much these payments should be. Courts will also consider whether the couple has children and, if so, who they will be living with. The higher your income and earning capacity, the less you will receive in terms of spousal support.

Spousal support typically falls under one of three categories: rehabilitative, reimbursement or permanent. Rehabilitative support is paid until the payee spouse can support themselves. The amount of support may be adjusted and discontinued as necessary. Reimbursement support is awarded in situations in which one spouse paid for the other's career-related expenses, such as medical school costs. The spouse that paid these costs will receive reimbursement support until the amount is paid off. Permanent support is awarded when the couple was married for a long time and the payee spouse is unable to support themselves due to illness or injury. These payments will be made until the payee spouse remarries or passes away.

It can be difficult to learn how to live as an individual when you have been part of a marriage for so long. Spousal support can make things easier and significantly improve your post-divorce life.

Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed on May 1, 2017

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