Miller Family Law


Understanding Utah's Alimony Laws


Divorce can be financially straining on your family, but Miller Family Law can help you understand your rights and obligations with regard to either receiving or paying alimony and making this transition as smooth as possible.  You should understand that either the husband or the wife may ask the court for alimony. Alimony may also be awarded temporarily while the case is pending or for a longer period after the divorce has been granted.

The court must consider at least the following when deciding whether to award alimony: 

  • the financial condition and needs of the recipient spouse;
  • the recipient's earning capacity or ability to produce income, including the impact of diminished workplace experience resulting from primarily caring for a child of the payor spouse;
  • the ability of the payor spouse to provide support;
  • the length of the marriage;
  • whether the recipient spouse has custody of minor children requiring support;
  • whether the recipient spouse worked in a business owned or operated by the payor spouse; and
  • whether the recipient spouse directly contributed to any increase in the payor spouse's skill by paying for education received by the payor spouse or enabling the payor spouse to attend school during the marriage.

The court may also consider the fault of the parties in determining whether to award alimony and its terms. "Fault" means any of the following conduct during the marriage that substantially contributed to the breakup of the marriage:

  • engaging in sexual relations with a person other than the party's spouse;
  • knowingly and intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical harm to the other party or minor children;
  • knowingly and intentionally causing the other party or minor children to reasonably fear life-threatening harm; or
  • substantially undermining the financial stability of the other party or the minor children.

Generally, in determining alimony, the court considers the parties' standard of living at the time of separation.  If that standard of living cannot be maintained during the divorce, the court will try to equalize the parties' standards of living.

Alimony automatically terminates when the recipient remarries or dies. Alimony also terminates if the recipient cohabitates with another person, but the other spouse cannot just stop paying alimony. They must first prove the cohabitation to the court.