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Alimony is essentially a payment from one ex-spouse to another to help maintain a lifestyle that is comparable to the standard of living they had during their marriage.  Courts take several factors into account when they determine what the terms, and timeframe the alimony settlement may be.   Unlike child support, alimony settlements are not mandated by as strict of guidelines.  This means that a settlement if any is going to be based on your agreement with your spouse, or a decision from a judge.  Therefore, it is often helpful to come to agreements on your own terms, rather than having your fate lie in the decision of another.

How is alimony calculated?

Alimony is not going to be awarded in every marriage, depending on a large number of factors.  Although you may not be able to tell by reading this, or any other article online if your divorce will result in spousal support.  The general factors that help determine alimony timeframes and amounts include, but are not limited to:

  1. How much money each spouse is able to earn on their own. By extension, this includes how well they will be able to manage the same lifestyle after the divorce.  Although there will almost undoubtedly be challenges, the aim is to ensure the financial impacts are mitigated for both parties.
  2. What are the reasonable expenses both parties are going to be taking on after the split has happened? This can also include items such as who is going to get to keep and live in the family home, as well as vehicles and other assets.
  3. How long the marriage lasted. Although there is not a simple formula to determine the length of spousal maintenance, there are a few standards we can look to.  In Utah, alimony terms will usually not exceed the lifespan of the marriage.  Typically the longer the marriage was, the longer the payment terms will be as well.

How can you come to an alimony agreement?

Every marriage is unique, so are the people in them, and so are the circumstances around the divorce.  Many people find themselves saying things like, “I don’t want to create a war” or “I just want everything to be fair.”  These are noble enough goals, however, you may find that you have a disagreement on what fair exactly means.  It is important that you are able to balance compromises with standing up for your own rights.  Even when things are cordial it is highly recommended that you speak with a local alimony attorney.  Experienced attorneys should be able to help things go as smoothly as possible, with a focus on quickening the process.

In a nutshell the more items you can come to an agreement on with your ex-spouse, the easier the process is for everyone.  On the other side of things, if you are not being treated fairly it is invaluable to have someone that is going to help fight for what you deserve.

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