Why Do I Have To Pay Spousal Support?

It is quite difficult to accept the fact that although the marriage has ended, a person may still be required to make financial contributions to their ex-spouse for a significant period of time, if not permanently. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is often one of the most difficult issues faced in a divorce. There are many financial and emotional reasons for this.  Many married couples, despite significant resources, faced financial challenges when supporting one household – the thought of supporting two (and contributing towards the household of an ex-spouse) is often overwhelming. Spousal support is ordered to try to ensure that each party has sufficient financial resources at their disposal to preserve the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage as much as possible.

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Another reason that spousal support is such a difficult issue is that there really aren’t many absolutes.  There is no magic formula that courts use to determine how much spousal support will be ordered, or for how long.  In Utah, there is a presumptive formula to determine the amount of spousal support on a temporary basis, during the divorce process, but this formula is not applied after the divorce decree is issued.  Factors that courts consider in determining the amount and length of spousal support are the earning capacity of each party, the length of the marriage, and the level of education of each party.  Courts issue orders dividing marital property prior to ordering spousal support – if there is sufficient marital property to provide for the needs of each party, spousal support may not be ordered.

If you have any questions regarding spousal support or other family law matters, please contact us.