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.
Circumstances of Alimony Modification
Modifying alimony results from large changes in one or both spouses’ situation. What constitutes 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 reason for 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 restoration of original agreements.
- Retirement: A payor spouse’s retirement factors into lessening alimony.
- Sickness: In 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 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.