Divorce is one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. On top of the immense personal toll, the process of deciding how to divide up finances can be incredibly stressful. In many divorces, a husband or wife may request alimony payments from their more financially-stable partner. When the time comes to demand alimony, it’s important to know whether you actually qualify for payments and contact a Salt Lake City alimony attorney if you have any questions regarding alimony in Utah. Every state has their own unique standards, so diving the requirements can get complicated. Here are provisions you must meet to qualify for alimony payments in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As with all states, alimony in Utah is only awarded to the spouse with less wealth, a smaller income, or both. Obviously, an unemployed husband would not be expected to support his wife if she’s consistently maintained a comfortable salary. After the less financially stable of the two spouses submits a request for alimony, a judge will consider the “lifestyle” he or she enjoyed while married to determine whether the requested amount is appropriate. What is considered part of someone’s lifestyle, or standard of living, is often up to the judge overseeing the case. For a lower- or middle-class couple, lifestyle might simply refer to basic living standards. For a wealthier couple, however, the level of comfort enjoyed by the spouse seeking alimony would be greater. If you were living in a multi-million dollar home while married, it’s unlikely that the alimony payments you receive will only be enough to pay rent on a studio apartment.
Financial situations leading up to and following a separation may also be considered. For instance, if a wife leaves her husband shortly after he loses his job, he may not be required to provide alimony that would have befitted their lifestyle while he was still employed. In other words, the financial situation of the spouse seeking alimony is just as important as that of the one writing the check. The earning potential (education or prior work history, for example) of the recipient spouse is also considered, even if that person wasn’t employed during the marriage.
The next biggest factor is the cause for the dissolution of the marriage. In most cases, the spouse filing for divorce will simply cite “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, that person simply does not want to be married to their spouse any longer. Neither person is found to be at fault for the divorce. In other instances, one person might be found more responsible. The most frequent reason for divorce in these cases is adultery. In Salt Lake City and Utah as a whole, adultery is taken very seriously. Unlike in other states, adultery is actually a misdemeanor in Utah. If a plaintiff can prove in court that their spouse cheated — or if their spouse admits to adultery — then a judge might deny the guilty party alimony altogether. Other criminal activities are considered as well. For instance, it would be considered unreasonable for a judge to order a wife to pay her ex-husband alimony if he has a history of gambling.
Another factor used when determining alimony eligibility in Salt Lake City is whether or not the spouse demanding payment is the primary guardian of the couple’s children. Though one parent may also be required to pay child support, this is not exactly the same. Additional alimony would perhaps cover income that the primary guardian would be unable to earn because of their child-rearing duties.
On top of everything else, the length of the marriage is also weighed. If a couple files for divorce after eight months, the degree to which their financial lives are tied up is obviously different than a couple who’s been married for thirty years. Additionally, the paying spouse may request the end of alimony responsibilities if their ex-partner remarries or simply moves in with a new partner.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to stand up for your rights and claim what’s yours. Don’t do it alone. A Salt Lake City alimony attorney can improve the chances of winning your alimony case.
When it comes the family law and social security disability, each client and case is different. It is also important to select an attorney with the experience, skills and professionalism required to address your legal issues. To learn more, contact the Salt Lake City law offices of Melvin A. Cook and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.