We’ve talked about determining alimony before here. As you know, divorce attorneys in Salt Lake City get all types of questions from their clients. Among the most common is how Utah courts calculate alimony. It may seem like an easy question. But the answers are not always simple. Spousal support is one of the most complex and delicate issues in family law. To explain it in simple terms, it basically comes down two major factors–time and need.
It’s important to understand the concept of alimony and why it exists. Alimony is a legal remedy designed to help a financially weaker spouse get back on their feet after divorce. When couples have been married for a long time, it can be easy to become accustomed to a certain lifestyle. But if one party has been financially dependent on the other for several years, they may require spousal support to maintain the same lifestyle after divorce. The court is unlikely to grant alimony in cases involving a short marriage. The court usually rules in favor of alimony in marriages that last exceeded five years in length. It is also important to understand that spousal support only lasts for the length of the marriage. If a couple was married for eight years, the financially weaker spouse can expect to receive alimony for the same amount of time.
The second and perhaps more complex factor for courts to determine is need. The court will examine the financial status of the spouse who makes less money. If the spouse’s expenditures exceed their income, the court is very likely to grant alimony. However, the court will also examine the finances of the financially stronger spouse. Although the level of income is important, they must also factor the amount of expenses to determine whether they can afford to pay spousal support.
Here’s an example for you to consider. Remember, it’s just an example. Susan and Tom are living in Salt Lake (and have been pretty much their whole lives) and they were married for 7 years and have a child. Tom earns $25 per hour, while Susan makes $15 per hour. If you do the math, Susan’s net income comes out to around $2,100 a month. She has several monthly expenses that add up to around $3,100 per month. Meanwhile, Tom is pulling in $3,600 a month from his medical job. However, his expenses are approximately the same as Susan’s. After evaluating their financial situation, it is clear Susan has a financial need of $1,000 per month. Under this scenario, Tom would have to pay $500 of alimony to Susan for 7 years. This is just an example. Not a rule.
But not all divorces are the same. In many cases, there simply is not enough money to cover all expenses and payments. To help make alimony simple, the law requires alimony to be capped by the spouse’s ability pay–regardless of whether the need is greater than the ability to pay. You really should speak with a lawyer about your specific circumstances.
Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets?
It’s not only unfair to hide marital assets in a divorce; it’s actually illegal. But not everyone plays by the rules of fair property division, and not everyone is aware that they’ve been cheated until after the fact. In Utah divorces, marital property is supposed to be divided fairly and equitably, and that goes for houses, cars, retirement accounts, stock options and any other asset that was acquired during the course of a marriage.
Unfortunately, though, some people try to pull the wool over their spouses’ eyes and keep marital property out of divorce negotiations.
Stock options related to a spouse’s job are a relatively common point of confusion. Sometimes a person will tell his or her spouse that stock options are simply job-related and shouldn’t be considered as shared property. Or maybe a spouse says the same thing about a 401(k) plan.
The truth in both of these cases is that both types of assets can be divided in the event the couple divorces.
And don’t be fooled by the fact that your spouse’s name is the only one on the title to a car, boat or house. Even if your name isn’t on the title, and the property was acquired during the marriage, the value of the asset should be divided fairly and equitably. Fair and equitable property division in Utah does not guarantee a 50-50 split of assets. An array of factors may come into play, and divorcing spouses will likely need the help of an attorney in protecting their financial interests.
Alimony Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need legal help with alimony in Salt Lake City, Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506 for your free consultation. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506