Spousal Support

Spousal Support in Utah park_bench

A spousal support award, sometimes known as alimony, is made on the basis of several factors, including but not limited to incomes of the parties, relative education levels, relative health, standard of living of the parties, duration of the marriage, retirement benefits, tax consequences of an award, and other equitable factors. Alimony can become a heated issue, the higher earning spouses don’t like paying it, and the lower earning spouses, insist on receiving it. Unless a compromise can be reached, the issue of how much alimony should be paid and for how long usually results in court battles.

Spousal Support Payments in Salt Lake City

An alimony award can be paid all at once in a lump sum payment. More commonly alimony awards are based on periodic payments over a fixed period of time. Life-long alimony payments are rare and are almost always based on “long-term” marriages. Alimony awards can either be modifiable or non-modifiable. In a modifiable alimony award, the amount and/or terms can be modified based on a “change in circumstances”. Examples of a change in circumstances include, but are not limited to: If the paying spouse becomes disabled or unemployed, or if the spouse receiving the payments remarries. Alimony payments are usually treated as taxable to the spouse that receives the payments and tax deductible to the spouse making the payments.

Modifying Spousal Support in Utah

Under Utah law support alimony can be terminated if the person receiving alimony gets married or begins living with a romantic partner.  Support alimony may also be terminated or modified if there has been a significant change in the need and/or earning ability of either person.  For example if the person ordered to pay support alimony later suffers an injury making it impossible to work. There is no set formula for alimony it is critical that you have an attorney.  Every aspect of a request for or objection to support alimony must be proven.  It is not enough to tell the judge you need alimony or you can’t afford to pay alimony, you must prove it through evidence and possibly witnesses.  Even if you and your spouse are in agreement on alimony, you should still consult an attorney before signing the final Decree to make sure your agreement does not have unintended consequences.


If you are in Salt Lake or Utah County we encourage you to contact Garner Law for an initial consultation where you’ll receive general divorce advice.