Interviewer: What happens if the husband was the bread winner, the wife was a stay-at-home mom, and they’re having a divorce? How does the woman get money to live? What if the husband says, ‘You want to divorce me, I’m going to starve you to death. I’m not going to give you anything’?
Michael Anderson: In those types of cases, mom needs to get a job – at least minimum wage – if she doesn’t, it’s going to be imputed to her. We also will go to court right away to get what’s called a temporary order. In the divorce case here where she needs money to survive, she is entitled to half of everything – all of the assets that they have. So if there’s any cash assets – even if his name is on the account and her name wasn’t – she’s entitled to half of that money. And there are some exceptions to that, for example if it was inherited or he received it as a gift, she may not be able to get half of it. But the general rule is she’s entitled to half of any of the money. Even if he takes it and runs away with it, we can put a temporary order in place, we can get that money divided, and we can get an emergency alimony put in place usually within two to three weeks if they come in. So we can usually get that taken care of very quickly.
It is Advisable To Start Stocking Away Money When Contemplating a Divorce in the Near Future
Interviewer: So there are emergency, fast procedures to get that money that they need to live?
Interviewer: Yes but if someone’s contemplating divorce, they really ought to start stocking away a little bit of money in either their own account or maybe some cash reserves, in a place where only the know about. I’ve told certain spouses who are either being mentally abused or you know the ‘battered spouse syndrome’ where they feel like they’re being crushed in and they’re being forced to do things they don’t want to do. I tell them to create a ‘go bag’ which is a backpack with their I.D, keys, some extra cash and stuff like that, where only they know where it is, so they can grab it and take off if they need to. That’s not always the case, but I think it’s a good idea if you’re contemplating divorce, to have a cash reserve to get you through a little bit of time because the courts aren’t as fast as we want them to be.
There is No Hard and Fast Line in Utah as Far as the Amount of Alimony is Concerned
Interviewer: What are some other factors involved in spousal maintenance? What are the situations where they’ll be no spousal maintenance, let’s say both parties make equal money? Is there a cap on the amount that one must contribute to the other?
Michael Anderson: No, there’s no cap. There’s no hard and fast line in Utah as far as the amount of alimony. I’ve been involved in cases where it’s been over ten thousand dollars a month for some very wealthy individuals. And I’ve been involved where it’s literally been a couple of hundred dollars a month. The court will look at factors such as, ‘did she or he put the other through school?’ – did they put them through college so now they are the substantial breadwinner while the other party is taking care of the kids or is literally just staying at home and not working? So they look at factors like that and they also do – if it’s a situation where they’re both equal pay, the court will also look at their expenses because sometimes equal pay does not mean that their expenses are equal. If one has higher expenses than the other, and they are justifiable expenses, the court will allow those and can still award alimony even if they’re making the same. But the court wants to make sure everybody is self-sufficient. So even if one party is not working, they will impute, as I mentioned earlier, an amount of money to them. And usually it’s minimum wage, which is about 1200 dollars a month of income, even if they’re not making it.
There is No Percentage Of An Income That Spousal Support Can Max Out At
Interviewer: Is there a percentage of your income that spousal support can max out at? Or isn’t that the way it’s calculated at all?
Michael Anderson: It’s not calculated that way in Utah at all, there’s no mini-cap on it at all. There’s a few cases out there that talk about it, but there’s no calculation or anything like that. Usually it’s just your income and your expenses. And remember, there has to be a financial need. So if they’re both making 60,000 a year and they’re both spending 60,000 a year, technically there’s no need unless somebody is negative – meaning they’re relying on the other party.
Spousal Support is Taxable to the Person Receiving It
Interviewer: Is that support taxed? Is it taxable to the other side of the party?
Michael Anderson: It’s taxable to the person receiving it. And child support is not taxable.