On its surface, the concept of alimony seems relatively cut and dry, but diverse circumstances ensure that the dynamics of alimony are full of nuance. For anyone involved in divorce, understanding basics of alimony modification can make the process much smoother. Whether you desire professional legal counsel, representation, or have questions surrounding alimony, we here at Wall Legal Solutions will treat your concerns with respect and sensitivity.
What is Alimony?
Alimony comprises payments made by the “payor spouse” to financially support the less-prosperous “dependent spouse” after a divorce. Alimony is paid once, or on a recurrent basis. In Utah, alimony lasts the marriage’s length (i.e. spouse married for 8 years pays alimony for 8 years), but sometimes courts choose differing amounts of time. “Marital standard of living” during the separation period is a commonly used gauge for assigning requisite alimony, but certain conditions, like changes in spousal financial state from job loss or demotion, are taken into account at trial. The main goal, for children or lifestyle’s sake, is allowing the dependent spouse to live as comfortably as he/she did while married. If neither person can support him/herself plus care for another spouse, income equalization formulas evaluate appropriate alimony.
Particularities alter how alimony is awarded. Numerous factors affect courts decisions, including:
- Length of union
- Cause of marital dissolution (e.g. one spouse was the primary catalyst of divorce through infidelity or abuse)
- Capacity to pay alimony
- Dependent spouse’s resources
- Custody, e.g. childcare the dependent spouse is responsible for
Courts have considerable leeway in determining allocation. For instance, if, during a long marriage, the payor spouse earned raises, got a better job, or completed higher education due to joint efforts in supporting the household, this may impact the alimony award because the recipient played a part in increasing earning potential.
Alimony Modification in Utah
Modifying alimony results from large changes in one or both spouses’ situation. What constitutes a significant change?
- Remarriage: Unless spouses agreed to continuous alimony, the dependent spouse’s remarriage is cause for immediate termination. However, if spouses settled upon a lump sum or property transmission, payment must still be made. Payor spouse’s remarriage is rarely the reason for the modification.
- Cohabitation: According to Utah Code Section 30-3-5(10), if the dependent spouse lives with a romantic partner, alimony is severed. Since cohabitating couples likely support each other and alimony would assist someone other than the dependent spouse, the payor no longer shoulders the burden.
- Employment: Alimony may be reduced if the payor spouse loses a job. If the dependent cannot work, he/she may be entitled to increased alimony.
- Alteration in Monetary Conditions: Courts never force a spouse to pay alimony if that means he/she cannot be self-supporting. If either spouse is, through no personal fault, beset by a major crisis like damage to or loss of business, this might justify adjustment; if the situation improves, that may entail the restoration of original agreements.
- Retirement: A payor spouse’s retirement factors into lessening alimony.
- Sickness: In the event of chronic illness, the payor spouse’s alimony responsibilities may diminish. Conversely, seriously ailing dependent spouses may require more money. Death of either spouse ends alimony.
- Agreement: Divorce terms occasionally elaborate circumstances where alimony is modifiable, such as stopping alimony after retirement.
Alimony in Utah FAQ
You can modify your alimony payments with the help of good divorce lawyers in Utah. You can’t just stop paying your alimony. There are two correct ways to do it:
Get a written agreement and file the documents in court
You can then get an amended divorce decree. If you have agreed to change your alimony, the decision does not end with you and your ex. Have your attorney create a stipulation for both of you and sign it. You need to file it in court.
File a Petition
Consider filing a petition asking the court to modify your alimony. If you can’t agree on a new number, the court may help you. Usually, you go through the mediation process. If negotiations fail to work, you can proceed to trial.
Alimony can be modified if there have been significant changes to the circumstances of either spouse after divorce. Alimony payments can be modified after a job change or loss, remarriage, or retirement. The court may also modify your alimony if your ex now earns more money than you.
A court may modify or stop your alimony payments whenever they have reason to believe that there have been substantial changes in your or your ex’s circumstances after your divorce. One of the most important things that they may influence their decision is the supported spouse earning more than the supporting spouse or having a significant decrease in financial responsibilities.
In Utah, your alimony payments are automatically terminated once the receiving spouse dies or gets married again. If your ex is cohabiting with someone else, you no longer need to pay alimony. File your petition with a Utah court requesting them to make a determination on your case. In the case of cohabitation, you may have trouble proving your argument to the court. It is, therefore, important to work with a lawyer. Whether you wish to file for the modification of your alimony or how to terminate it, there are two options. If you and your ex come to an agreement, write it down and file it in court. You may need to file other documents as well. If you can’t agree, file a petition to the court.
Alimony automatically ends if the receiving spouse dies or remarries. However, you may also ask the court to terminate alimony if you are sure that your ex has started cohabiting with someone else. Alimony payments may end if there have been significant changes in either of your incomes. The court may modify or terminate alimony payments if the receiving spouse no longer has as many responsibilities as they did at the time of the divorce. We suggest that you get the help of divorce lawyers in Utah.
Alimony Modification or Termination Services at Wall Legal Solutions
Our attorneys are dedicated to preserving your rights and best interests. Since 1973, we have provided legal services to Salt Valley residents when they needed it most. If you’re searching for insightful guidance regarding alimony or family law-related issues like custody, visitation, child support, paternity, and domestic violence cases, look no further than Wall Legal Solutions to help you move forward. Contact us via email or call 801-441-2388 for a free 30-minute consultation.