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How is Spousal Support Calculated?

Spousal support is essentially the same term as alimony, although that is a somewhat antiquated term.  In Utah, awarding spousal support is determined by the court, and the terms are up to their discretion.  The court will generally request a financial statement from both parties in order to determine several factors.  This includes but is not limited to the earning capacities of each spouse, compared to their financial needs.  The court may also take into consideration the reason for the divorce and the behavior of each party during the marriage.

Why does alimony exist?

The general principle behind spousal support (alimony) is that people should not have to go through financial hardships in order to dissolve a failing marriage.  The goal is to maintain the same standard of living that each spouse enjoyed during the marriage.  In general, the longer the marriage, the more likely that spousal support is going to be granted.  Let’s look at the length of spousal support and the reasons why terms may be longer or shorter.

Temporary support: This can be granted based on the judgment of the court.  Temporary support is generally granted during divorce proceedings and before the final decree.  Short term support can be granted in order to give one party time to gain the necessary skills to become self-sufficient.  Long-term alimony is generally reserved for long marriages or in situations where the ex-spouse has significant needs and cannot financially support themselves.

Other spousal support factors

Utah courts are unlikely to grant a spousal support term that exceeds the length of the marriage itself, barring enough reason to do so.  Alimony is less likely to happen for short-term marriages, especially if children are not involved.  This is especially true if both parties have sufficient life skills, education, and career abilities.  Termination of spousal support can be affected by the remarriage of the recipient, or if the fixed date has been reached.  If you have questions about either receiving or paying, our spousal support attorneys are here to help.  Contact Burton Family Attorneys today at (801) 393-1106 to speak with a legal professional today.

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